The UK’s Plans to Clean up Space Debris

18th Jul 2022
The UK’s Plans to Clean up Space Debris

The UK government unveiled plans for a new initiative set to clean up space debris. This includes the bulk of the material in space after 60 years of space exploration. The £5 million funding drive is part of a package of changes improving how we approach future endeavours beyond our planet. These also include new laws to outline the use of satellites. Moreover, they cover the insurance that tech companies must acquire to adhere to strict sustainability goals.

Partnership for Clean Space

The plans are a joint venture between the government, industry leaders, financial experts and private sector businesses who are keen to produce a standardised approach to the subject around the world.

The government marked the initial funding for Active Debris Removal (ADR). ADR has become a hot topic in recent years, following from awareness raised by waste issues on Earth itself. To stabilise the growth of debris orbiting the planet, it’s necessary to begin the process of removing now defunct satellites and other man-made objects from orbit. Otherwise, orbiting material will end up on a collision course.

The Risk of Collision

The European Space Agency recently reported the findings of a study on the issue. ESA issued a stark warning as to what will happen if changes aren’t made soon. Even without any further growth in the number of debris objects being deployed into space, we can expect to see regular collisions taking place every 10 years. Two pieces of debris colliding shouldn’t give cause for concern,. However, a collision between a spacecraft and a weather satellite, for example, could have devastating consequences.

Astroscale Ltd (UK) is the first private company created to focus on safe and sustainable activities in space. Their Managing Director, Nick Shave, welcomes the UK government’s investment. He said, “This investment will provide tremendous opportunities to establish a UK leadership position, create jobs and commercialise this fast-growing sector”.

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