Thursday, September 26, 2013

Great Idea, but who's paying for it?

Leave it to the Swiss, who have a VERY clean country, to come up with a concept for a mission to start attacking the rapidly escalating problem of space junk.

They've conceived a satellite that will grab defunct satellites and other pieces of large space junk and then proceed to toss the junk Earthward, where it will incinerate (hopefully completely).   They plan to start operations in 2018.

This is a great idea that addresses a growing concern - presumably they've got buy-in from space agencies that want to get some of that debris down.  But the article doesn't say if that's true, so I am still left to wonder who's going to pay for this space clean-up operation.

The 'hoover' on a mission to clear up space: CleanSpace One will sweep up 370,000 pieces of junk orbiting the planet

(That title is somewhat misleading;  they're not going after all 370,000 pieces of junk.  They're going after satellites and pieces big enough to grapple and and getting them de-orbited.  That way those big things can't collide with anything else, resulting in the generation of many small uncatchable pieces of space junk that can nonetheless put a hurting on working pieces of space hardware if they collide with such.)

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