UK Space Agency Announces Funding to Tackle Growing Space Debris Problem16th Feb 2022
The UK Space Agency has announced that it will allocate £1.7 million for projects aimed at tackling space debris in orbit. Science Minister, George Freeman, made this announcement at a UK space sector conference that was held in Oxfordshire in January. Speaking at the event, Freeman discussed the growing problem of space debris and the importance of tackling this issue to ensure a sustainable space future. Currently, around 330 million pieces of space junk are in orbit, all of which pose a threat to active satellites and vital in-space infrastructures.
13 New Projects Funded for Space Junk Retrieval Missions
The £1.7 million promised by the UK Space Agency will be spread across 13 projects geared towards space debris removal. These projects involve collaborations between academic institutions and industry leaders and feature a variety of cutting-edge techniques for space junk retrieval. One project, developed by the University of Strathclyde and Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd, will explore the possibility of AI detection tools to steer satellites away from space debris. Meanwhile, a collaboration between Magdrive and the University of Southampton will look at a plasma thruster, which could deploy small projectiles to knock debris out of orbit.
UK Space Agency Funding Addresses Space Sustainability Issues
Space debris poses a real threat to the safety and reliability of in-space projects and research. As society on Earth grows more reliant on satellite systems for day-to-day technology and issues like climate management, it is vital that funding goes to organisations that will help to tackle the issue of space junk. This new UK Space Agency announcement highlights the severity of the space debris problem and the UK government’s commitment to building a safe, sustainable space future.