UK working to clear up dangerous space debris

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While two space debris clearing firms Astroscale and ClearSpace have been injected with funding to spearhead a UK mission to clear the junk from orbit…reports Asian Lite News.

The UK has turned its attention to getting rid of the around 900,000 pieces of debris currently orbiting Earth – which include spent rocket bodies and tools from astronauts.

The UK Space Agency is set to work with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to help make the sector more sustainable.

“The sustainability challenges this new era creates must be addressed as a priority to ensure that the space sector can thrive,” UNOOSA director Simonette Di Pippo said.

While two space debris clearing firms Astroscale and ClearSpace have been injected with funding to spearhead a UK mission to clear the junk from orbit.

Science minister George Freeman said: “Growing reliance on satellites for a range of everyday utilities from SatNav to meteorology is making the space tech sector increasingly valuable to the UK economy. These new projects will support our leading role in cleaning up our orbit, which has been neglected for far too long, and will help keep satellites operating safely so they can continue to provide vital services such as communications and climate change monitoring.”

Space debris can stay in orbit for hundreds of years and present a real danger to the rapidly increasing number of new satellites being launched each year.

Further action is being taken to improve the UK’s SST services that can predict hazards in orbit and alert satellite operators to potential collisions in space. This builds on existing work with the Ministry of Defence to bring together data and analysis for civil, military and commercial space users, as set out in the National Space Strategy.

These are just the latest developments the UK Space Agency is making in cleaning up space. In 2020 it awarded seven UK companies a share of over £1 million to help track debris in space.

In January 2021, the UK Space Agency and UNOOSA signed an initial agreement to support international efforts to promote space sustainability through a series of events and engagement activities. Today’s announcement continues this partnership.

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