New Satellite Will Help Keep Space Cleaner Than Earth
Look, Earth is in need of some cleaning, in fact, there’s some folks working on that. But it turns out that outer space is way more vast than our tiny planet, and it needs a little help too… if for no other reason than to keep space junk from raining down on our heads. Luckily, we’ve got the folks at Swiss Space Systems (S3) to help out with a new satellite, the CleanSpace One, to help clean up a new piece of space junk.
The CleanSpace One will use a net system to grab the newly decommissioned Swiss Cube satellite — in S3’s words, the CleanSpace One is sort of like “a giant Pac-Man.” The satellite will deploy a cone-shaped net to catch the SwissCube, and send it safely to be burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.
CleanSpace One has been in the planning stages since 2012, but this net system is new. Earlier versions just saw CleanSpace One as a rectangular satellite using a grappling arm to grab SwissCube and propel both satellites into the atmosphere.
While CleanSpace One is just to clean up one particular satellite, it’s also working as a demonstration for other such “janitor satellites” in the future. With S3 planning a space plane to launch small satellites from orbit, we’ll definitely need a plan to get rid of the debris once the satellites’ missions have been accomplished.
The next stage in the creation of CleanSpace One is to make an engineering model that will be a more accurate model than the current prototypes.