Space ‘bin lorry’ to pick up lit­ter in Earth or­bit


A BRI­TISH-LED mis­sion demon­strat­ing how to sal­vage po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous junk or­bit­ing the Earth is set for launch less than a day af­ter a Chi­nese space sta­tion broke up over the Pa­cific.

The RE­MOVEDEBRIS satel­lite, to be de­ployed from the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion (ISS), will carry a net for cap­tur­ing space lit­ter and a har­poon to haul in larger ob­jects.

A Space X Fal­con 9 rocket is wait­ing to de­liver the box-like craft to the ISS from the Kennedy Space Cen­tre at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The fiery demise of the Chi­nese space lab Tian­gong-1 was a timely re­minder of the grow­ing haz­ard of space junk.

Pro­fes­sor Guglielmo Agli­etti, di­rec­tor of the Sur­rey Space Cen­tre, said: “It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that a few sig­nif­i­cant col­li­sions have al­ready hap­pened. The is­sue of the d re­duc­tion of the space de­bris has to be ad­dressed.”

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