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ESA Announces Plans to Clean Space Junk

ESA Announces Plans to Clean Space Junk

Wednesday, 11 December, 2019 - 07:30
The International Space Station releases a nanosatellite. (Reuters)

In collaboration with a commercial consortium, the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch a joint mission aimed at disposing space debris left by past space missions, announced the concerned ministers on Monday.

The first-of-its-kind mission, dubbed "ClearSpace 1" is set to launch in 2025, in collaboration with a consortium led by a Swiss startup.

Preps for the project are scheduled in March 2020. The mission consists of sending a four-arm probe into space to grab an old rocket that was launched by ESA, and drag it toward low Earth orbit to burn up in the atmosphere.

More spacecraft are expected to launch in the future to grab larger space junk.

Concerns about collisions in space are mounting, amid predictions of a rapid increase in abandoned materials, when space travel becomes commercial. There are also concerns about large pieces of space junk that could hit the Earth.

Holger Krag, head of Esa's space debris office, said space junk can collide at speeds of up to 40,000 km per hour.

The European Space Agency has 22 member states, most of which are members of the European Union, along with Switzerland and Norway.

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