UK to play a crucial role in the creation of ‘the Claw’ – first ever satellite to extract space junk

UK to play a crucial role in the creation of ‘the Claw’ – first ever satellite to extract space junk

The UK Science Minister announced that the UK government would use vital technology to build the first-ever satellite for removing debris from space. Clearspace-1 is expected to be complete by 2025 and is dedicated to collecting all objects in orbit. It will play a crucial role in ensuring that the space is clean and clear. The Clearspace-1, also known as “The Claw,” will gather debris using the pincer motion, then re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and allows this debris to decompose safely without interfering with life. 

Elecnor DEIMOS is the leader of this mission and will help design the Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS), which will help position the satellite to collect the space junk, using antennas and thrusters and power generators. According to the OECD, there are over 160 million objects in orbit, with the majority being space junk. These junks are in various sizes and shapes, such as cameras, rocket bodies, and spatulas. 

Amanda Solloway, Science Minister, said that the hazardous space junks that orbit the Earth are in millions. He added that the British researchers and scientists are committed to ensuring the clean-up mission is accomplished. Clearspace-1 satellite has vision-based navigation (VBN) technology, which lets the spacecraft know how it is tumbling, moving, and behaving. 

The CEO of Elecnor DEIMOS Group, Ismael Lopez, said that Clearspace-1 is an innovative mission with all the capacity and expertise to overcome all challenges to ensure the mission would be accomplished successfully. He added that the mission is a clear indication of the UK’s commitment to remove all debris in space, reducing any chance of satellite colliding with the junk. 

The UK government is devoted to reap the benefits from satellite mega-constellations, which has many spacecrafts. This is the reason why the government is financing technologies and companies to remove the debris. This year, the UK Space Agency said that it is funding some investments through Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) program, which will help the UK track this junk and monitor potential risks that might occur when the satellite collides with this junk. 

One of the funded projects is the London-based Lift Me Off, which will come up with technics for distinguishing between space debris and satellites using optical and infrared cameras. The UK is the world leader in robotics and Earth observation, telecommunications, small satellite technology, and universities with the best minds in space science. Since demand for space services is increasing, the UK is trying its best to take any available opportunity in space sustainability.

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