How Can Humans clean up Space Junk?

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Ashutosh Kumar
Hi, I am Ashutosh Kumar. Graduate in Journalism. Field of expertise is technology, automobile & lifestyle.

Our dirty work lead to a dirty space now. What could not be contained by our Earth is now spread far off into space. The Space trash consists of obsolete or of those satellites which are not in use anymore.

All of this has been collected over time. The Space Trash not only consists of just the satellites but the gas canisters connected to the Space shuttles, it even consists of chipped of paint flakes, dust and other natural waste like dust, asteroids, and large ice particles.

RemoveDEBRIS: The whole idea to clean the space around Earth

A British Satellite recently launched in the space to collect space trash was successful to collect the stimulated piece of trash left in the space on purpose, using a large net.

On Sunday, September 16th, the vehicle, known as the RemoveDEBRIS satellite, deployed its onboard net, which then captured a nearby target (the stimulated space junk) that the vehicle had released a few seconds earlier.

The demonstration showed that a simple idea like a net may be an effective way to clean up all the material orbiting Earth. It might take a little time but with the amount of Space Trash around Earth’s orbital area, might be a serious problem later.

The issue is that this debris in the space isn’t small and the minimal size of these waste are around that of a Softball. The issue is that if this debris is left floating around the orbital space area of Earth might collide with the functioning satellite. They travel at a max speed of 17,000 mph. This is really a lot to cause some severe damage to the functioning satellites.

How to tackle with all of this waste?

The US Department of Defense’s Space Surveillance Network is currently tracking around 8,000 objects in orbit with Earth-based antennas, in order to calculate the chances of two large pieces running into one another. Scenarios like these are very rare, but incidents like these may cause some financial and technical damages.

This is said in regard to the fact, that traveling to space isn’t very easy to mend things gone out of order. As well as the fact that, these space travel, do cost a lot of money and are sent for important purposes.

How does RemoveDEBRIS project work?

RemoveDEBRIS launched to the International Space Station in April, on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Then in June, the satellite was loaded into the Nanoracks Kaber Microsatellite Deployer and deployed into space. It’s remained in orbit since then, and this weekend it started the first phase of its experiments.

The idea behind the net is relatively simple: capture a piece of material and then drag it down to Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up.

To see if this idea could work, RemoveDEBRIS was equipped with a small standardized satellite known as a CubeSat, which it deployed on Sunday. The tiny satellite drifted outward and then inflated a balloon to increase its overall size (in order to represent a larger, more realistic piece of debris).

Once the CubeSat was more than 20 feet away, the RemoveDEBRIS vehicle then shot out its net. Masses at the edges of the net wrapped around the target to make sure it didn’t break free from the snare.


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