Satellite service provider Astroscale Ltd. continues to contribute to the U.K.’s orbital debris cleanup capabilities. As a participant in the Cleaning Outer Space Mission through Innovative Capture (COSMIC) mission, the company plans to demonstrate its rendezvous and proximity operations and robotic debris capture technologies to remove two defunct satellites by 2026.

Astroscale and partners are collaborating on the design of a spacecraft that will incorporate a robotic arm to safely and securely capture a defunct satellite in low Earth orbit (LEO). Following capture, COSMIC will bring the target satellite out of LEO and release it into an even lower disposal orbit so that it incinerates in the Earth’s atmosphere. The COSMIC active debris removal servicer will then rendezvous with, capture and remove a second debris object.

The first End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-Multi-client (ELSA-M) servicer, a commercial partnership together with the European Space Agency, U.K. Space Agency and satellite operator OneWeb, will be launched ahead of the U.K.’s Active Debris Removal mission in 2025.

Astroscale most recently proved its magnetic capture and rendezvous and proximity operations capability in-orbit during its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission. In orbit since 2021 at an altitude of 550 km, ELSA-d successfully captured a simulated piece of space junk in orbit with its magnetic and mechanical docking and grappling technology.

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