Harpoon successfully captures space debris

GUILDFORD, United Kingdom - The RemoveDEBRIS satellite, one of the world’s first attempts to address the build-up of dangerous space debris, has successfully used its on-board harpoon-capture system in orbit. The Airbus Stevenage designed harpoon featured a 1.5 metre boom deployed from the main RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft with a piece of satellite panel on the end. The harpoon was fired at 20 metres/sec to penetrate the target and demonstrate the ability of a harpoon to capture debris, according to the University of Surrey.

Harpoon successfully captures space debris
Harpoon successfully captures space debris
GUILDFORD, United Kingdom - The RemoveDEBRIS satellite, one of the world’s first attempts to address the build-up of dangerous space debris, has successfully used its on-board harpoon-capture system in orbit. The Airbus Stevenage designed harpoon featured a 1.5 metre boom deployed from the main RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft with a piece of satellite panel on the end. The harpoon was fired at 20 metres/sec to penetrate the target and demonstrate the ability of a harpoon to capture debris, according to the University of Surrey.

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The Intelligent Aerospace take:

February 15-There is an estimated 7,600 tons of "space junk" orbiting Earth, which can imperil satellites should they collide at 30,000 miles per hour. The RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft has successfully demonstrated its ability to harpoon junk, which bodes well to ensure there is space in space for more satellites.

Related: Changing how we build satellites could do more than reduce space junk

Related: UK Ministry of Defense invests £1m in ‘wrapped-rib’ satellite technology

Related: Airbus and Japanese telecom satellite operator JSAT sign cooperation agreement

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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