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ISS releases RemoveDebris satellite to test debris capture technology in space

The satellite will use a built-in harpoon and net assembly to capture space debris.

International Space Station (ISS) has recently released a satellite to tackle the problems of debris in space. The satellite has been designed to test out the efficiency of the existing technologies in removing junk from space. 

The satellite weighs roughly around 100 kg and comes with a harpoon and net assembly to capture test debris in space. The payload also includes camera and LIDAR systems to assist in the satellite navigation. More than 6,800 tons of space debris is currently flying in the space which possesses a threat to both ISS and other satellites. Hence, researchers have come up with an idea where a satellite will try to capture a debris and will destroy it in space.

The system will use a net or a harpoon to capture a debris and after capturing, it will adjust its course to bring the debris and the satellite back to the Earth's atmosphere. Because of drag and friction, the CubeSats will be destroyed along with the debris that has been captured. Researchers believe that their test satellite will provide important program data that will help them to test the efficiency of such CubeSat systems. Further, the mission will also help them to improve and update their debris removal setup for future launch missions. 

Researchers have named this mission as RemoveDebris mission and the satellite as RemoveDebris. This project has been funded by the European Commission and project partners namely Surrey Space Center, Airbus, CSEM, ISIS, and Stellenbosch University. The satellite has been built by the Surrey Satellite Technology Limited and the onboard systems have been installed by Airbus. The payload was delivered by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket back in April into the orbit where the SpaceX Dragon spaceflight took it to the ISS.

Check out this video to know more about how the satellite will execute the debris capture mission in space -

Source - RemoveDebris Mission

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Amit Jha
Amit Jha has been with CrazyEngineers since March 2016. Amit is passionate about science, technology and business.