ELSA-M Servicer Project Secures Completion Investment

8th Jun 2022
ELSA-M Servicer Project Secures Completion Investment

Astroscale, OneWeb, and the European and UK Space Agencies are going to attempt to safeguard the satellite economy with the new ELSA-M Servicer satellite. The ground-breaking spacecraft technology project will move forward thanks in part to a new investment of €14.8 million.

The ELSA-M servicer launch will take place in 2024. The project has ambitious plans to provide a service that removes debris for satellite operators.

Building upon the 2019 Sunrise Partnership Program

The announcement builds upon the Partnership Program ‘Sunrise’ from 2019. OneWeb and the European Space Agency (ESA) initiated Sunrise to support the advancement of next-gen technologies. Among others, Sunrise supported research in active debris removal. ELSA-M makes use of Sunrise-derived terminal technology to flying satellites to new payload with artificial intelligence (AI).

This latest funding agreement supports Astroscale and their partners in the UK for the completion of the ELSA-M servicer. This round extends from the manufacturing stage all of the way through to the pre-integration phase.

After this has been completed, the servicer will be able to capture and remove a number of satellites in one mission, once they have reached the conclusion of their operational life in low Earth orbit.

The managing director at Astroscale, John Auburn, said the following:

“We’re putting our telecommunications services at risk unless we start cleaning up space. Astroscale’s ELSA-M servicer is designed to build on our ELSA-d demonstration mission to clean up orbital debris. This spacecraft will demonstrate our innovative rendezvous, capture and de-orbit capabilities with a full-size constellation client.

“We plan to launch our commercial service for satellite operators, such as OneWeb and others, soon after the in-orbit demonstration, with a vision to make debris removal part of routine operations by 2030. We are very grateful to the UK and European Space Agencies for their continued support to develop this innovative technology, leading to our commercial services that will contribute to a sustainable economy in space.”

The UK at the Forefront of the Effort to Clear up Space

Chief executive of the UK Space Agency, Paul Bate, has spoken about his beliefs that this program puts the UK at the forefront when it comes to promoting sustainability and clearing up space.

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