Astroscale UK to develop space debris removal technology innovations with OneWeb
by Staff Writers
Harwell UK (SPX) May 25, 2021
Astroscale UK announces funding award from partners OneWeb, the global satellite communications network, to mature their technology and capability towards a commercial service offering by 2024.
This latest 2.5 million pound award forms part of a larger beam-hopping satellite programme, totalling over 32 million pounds, granted from the UK Space Agency, via the European Space Agency's Sunrise Programme to partners including OneWeb, SatixFy, Celestia UK and Astroscale UK.
OneWeb is leading the way in providing satellite services with space sustainability at the heart of their mission goals. John Auburn, Managing Director of Astroscale UK and Group Chief Commercial Officer says, "This ambitious project with OneWeb is the next step towards maturing our technologies and refining our UK capabilities to develop a full-service Active Debris Removal offering by 2024."
Astroscale's Sunrise-funded programme, known as ELSA-M, will develop the technology to remove multiple retired satellites in a single mission. John Auburn adds, "This multi-client strategy will drive down service costs and incentivise large satellite constellation partners to accelerate the speed at which they remove space junk."
Astroscale's ELSA-d demonstration mission is currently in low Earth orbit (LEO), preparing for a series of complex rendezvous and close proximity debris capture and release manoeuvres this summer. Much of the innovative autonomous technology undergoing testing during ELSA-d this year will continue to evolve, at pace, during this new Sunrise ELSA-M programme, including the on-board algorithms, sensors and software.
Dr Jason Forshaw, Head of Future Business, Europe explains, "We'd like to thank OneWeb, UKSA, and ESA for their efforts in supporting the development of this project. This funding will help us evolve key rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) technologies and capabilities beyond ELSA-d towards an end-of-life servicing offering for a range of constellation customers. Our ELSA-M service will have the capability to undertake multiple sequential debris removals expanding the reusability of the servicer."
Dr Jason Forshaw adds, "In parallel to this project, we're developing our next generation docking plate (DP), which is fitted to clients before launch, and is designed to enable a servicer to grapple the client. We are encouraging constellation customers to fit DPs to 'future proof' their satellites in case of need for removal due to failure, or at end of life, or to provide future in-orbit servicing. OneWeb has pioneered the market for future debris removal by committing to fit all new OneWeb satellites with a compatible docking plate."
John Auburn concludes, "We're delighted to partner with the Sunrise team to support the UK government's space sustainability leadership goals, and keen to rapidly advance the UK's commercial growth in providing in-orbit servicing over the next few years."
Large Chinese rocket segment disintegrates over Indian Ocean
Beijing (AFP) May 9, 2021
A large segment of a Chinese rocket re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean on Sunday, China's space agency said, following fevered speculation over where the 18-tonne object would come down. Officials in Beijing had said there was little risk from the freefalling segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which had launched the first module of China's new space station into Earth orbit on April 29. But the US space agency NASA and some experts said China had behaved ... read more
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