UK Space Agency to invest £4 million in removing space debris

UK Space Agency to invest £4 million in removing space debris Credit: Frame Stock Footage.Shutterstock.com

The UK Space Agency have awarded ClearSpace and Astroscale £4 million to design missions to remove existing pieces of space debris, working with a consortium of industry partners, as reported on Monday, September 26.

The two British companies have received the UK Space Agency investment to begin removing space debris, with the projects directly supporting the creation of 70 new jobs, with further opportunities to increase growth in the wider UK space sector, which already supports 47,000 jobs and generates an income of £16.5 billion each year.

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, stated:

“As our reliance on space technologies increases rapidly and the UK becomes a global hub of satellite design, manufacturing and launch, we are committed to leading efforts to make space more sustainable.”

“With 1,700 satellites launched last year alone, the need to safeguard the space environment for the benefit of everyone on Earth has never been more pressing.”

“By catalysing investment, backing innovative new technologies and supporting a national mission to remove space debris, we can keep space open for future generations and protect the important satellite services that modern life depends on.”

ClearSpace UK, based in London, and Astroscale Ltd., based at the Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire, were chosen after completing feasibility studies of the missions to remove derelict objects from space earlier this year.

Rory Holmes, ClearSpace UK Managing Director stated:

“ClearSpace is honoured that the UK Space Agency is continuing their support to the CLEAR Mission.”

“Space is getting more and more congested with defunct satellites, rocket bodies and other fragments – we have to act now to ensure this precious environment remains usable for future generations.”

“The CLEAR Mission is a vital step on the path to making the removal of space debris a reality, and will allow us to develop state-of-the-art space technologies, such as complex robotics and AI-based algorithms, within the UK. ”

“We cannot solve the challenge of space debris alone, and we are proud that 9 cutting-edge UK-based space companies – Alden Legal, AstroAgency, Critical Software, Deimos, MDA, Orbit Fab, Satellite Applications Catapult, University of Surrey – will work with us to address this issue.”

Astroscale Ltd. has been awarded £1.7 million to design a satellite servicer that is capable of removing multiple retired or defunct satellites in a single mission.

The Cleaning Outer Space Mission through Innovative Capture (COSMIC) will harness Astroscale’s rendezvous and Remote Proximity Operations (RPO), and debris capture capabilities.

Nick Shave, Managing Director, Astroscale Ltd, stated:

“We rely on space in so many areas of our lives, yet without the rapid development of the in-orbit servicing market we cannot start removing the hazardous debris that threatens our societal dependence on satellites.”

“We are very pleased and honoured to have been selected by the UK Space Agency for this Active Debris Removal Mission Study award. Astroscale, working closely with expert UK partner companies, will design a national robotic capture capability that can safely remove two defunct UK-registered satellites in Low Earth Orbit.”

“With our proven space mission heritage and strong industrial partnerships, we can deliver the UK government’s ambitious plans to develop a sustainable space economy for the benefit of future generations. Our goal is to make in-orbit debris removal and satellite servicing routine by 2030.”

The news follows reports that Russian astronaut Valery Polyakov, who set the record for the longest space mission has died, aged 80, as reported on Monday, September 19.


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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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