Astroscale has scheduled next year to unveil its ELSA-d Soyuz deployment mission

Astroscale has scheduled next year to unveil its ELSA-d Soyuz deployment mission

The End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission, whose intention is to test Astroscale’s capacity in active debris removal, will be unveiled next year in March. The mission will involve the GK Launch Services, which will be deploying the Soyuz rocket hosting the outlined equipment from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Astroscale, which is headquartered in Tokyo, wants to utilize the mission to display its technologies in the entrapment and removal of space debris. This move would create its peculiarity in the space industry as an on-orbit service provider.

The ELSA-d project overseer, Seita Iizuka, stated that they are close to completing the mission. That’s why they decided to publicize it as a token of appreciation to the team of engineers and technicians involved in its development. The company announced that the program would help the satellite operators remove their post-mission debris from space, making the company a leading service provider in the crucial fight against space debris deployment.

The number of debris in space is increasing at an alarming rate due to the reduction in the deployment costs and the upcoming mega satellite constellations all in the low-Earth orbit. Astroscale hopes to mitigate this challenge by deorbiting and removing failed satellites and rocket remains from the low-Earth orbit. 

The chief executive of Astroscale, Nobu Okada, stated that the company is ready to provide space debris removal services as part of its on-orbit services to facilitate the exploitation of technical innovations by the space companies. Additionally, the move is instrumental while the world discusses international policies that they can adopt to minimize such debris problems in space and the code of conduct.

The ELSA-d mission will involve the deployment of two payloads. One payload is Astroscale’s servicer space vehicle, and the other is a customer satellite weighing less than 20 kilograms. While in space, the servicer space vehicle will lodge out hosting the customer payload. The servicer space vehicle, which has advanced technology and a magnet attracting system, will detach the customer payload, which has been cased with ferromagnetic material to prevent its destruction.

Astroscale plans to test its technology for space debris removal with a client payload and prove its efficiency in the whole process. The company will be running the mission from the National In-Orbit Servicing Control Centre based in Harwell, UK. 

The leading director of Astroscale based at the headquarters, John Auburn, expressed the company’s excitement in providing such a crucial service in the space industry. He added that the service spacecraft would reveal how it captures falling space debris from a client mission and the technology it uses to connect with customer debris out of its view range.

In conclusion, apart from the space debris removal technology that Astroscale will be demonstrating in this mission, there are other on-orbit services that the company will be providing. For instance, the company is thinking of developing a shelf-life extension program for customer payloads in the geostationary orbit.

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