“Anomaly” Halts Astroscale Space Debris Removal Mission9th Feb 2022
Astroscale has announced that it has paused its space debris removal test mission that is currently being carried out in orbit. The announcement was made on 26th January and came after reports of “anomalous” behaviour in the craft’s usual functioning. At the time of this announcement, the Astroscale craft was in the process of performing a space debris removal test. The test involved detaching a 17kg satellite, which was connected to the 175kg craft, and performing a series of autonomous manoeuvres to recapture it while moving through orbit.
Space Debris Mission Test Paused After Successful First Attempt
Astroscale have paused their space debris mission test during the second phase of its proposed objective. The first stage of the test was successfully carried out in August 2021 and involved separating the satellite and recapturing it using magnetic properties on board the service craft. The current phase of the test was due to see the client satellite separated from the servicer craft over a much greater distance. The Astroscale ELSA-d craft would then use autonomous navigation to track and recapture the device. This demonstration aimed to show the craft’s capacity for the capture and removal of space debris from orbit.
Astroscale Space Debris Crafts Remain Safely Separated
Discussing their current mission, Astroscale has confirmed that the ELSA-d components are currently safely separated and located at a short distance from each other. The company has also announced that they intend to complete the test mission once any issues onboard the craft have been resolved. The test mission is controlled remotely by researchers located at an Astroscale centre in the UK and hopes to pave the way for wider space junk clean-up.