Janitor Satellites Designed to Clean Up Space Junk
The proliferation of debris orbiting the Earth – primarily jettisoned rocket and satellite components – is an increasingly critical problem for spacecraft. To combat this threat, the Swiss Space Center at EPFL has been working on CleanSpace One, a project to develop and build the first installment of a family of satellites specially designed to clean up space debris. Although its first model is destined to be destroyed, the CleanSpace One adventure will not be a one-shot deal. "We want to offer and sell a whole family of ready-made systems, designed as sustainably as possible, that are able to de-orbit several different kinds of satellites," explains Swiss Space Center Director Volker Gass. Depending on the funding and industrial partners, this first orbital rendezvous could take place within three to five years.