RemoveDebris, the first spacecraft sent by the International Space Station is sent on a spearhead mission of clearing the space Junk. It is a hundred-kilogram debris removal spacecraft sent using Canadarm2, a robotic arm. It is used for repairing and catching cargo ships. The next two months would be used up switching all the subsystems by the ground controllers. For every experiment to record a high definition video, three to four months would be dedicated. To ensure that the captured video comes out nice, it is essential to place the spacecraft in the right position where it should have proper illumination.
Airbus has designed three out the four experiments, and they would be conducted in October in Bremen, Germany. A small CubeSat would be released first letting it float away five to seven meters. The ‘net’ would be ejected to capture the CubeSat. A set of 3D lidar and 2D cameras would use to detect the CubeSat. A pen-sized harpoon, fired into the panel would be the last experiment. Last but not the least, a drag sail, will be positioned to speed the de-orbiting process of the satellite. Using sail is a smarter move as it can help to de-orbit in not more than ten weeks. It lessens the time defunct satellites take to stay in orbit.
More than 100 objects are required to be removed at the rate of five per year to control the multiplication of the snippets generated due to the collisions and detonation. A lot of examinations have been done already, but this would be for the first time that mentioned technologies and developments are going to be tested in space. Replicating the whole situation on the ground is not hundred percent possible. This is the reason it would be interesting to see how these technologies function in Space.
The most massive and most menacing piece of junk, Envisat, which is a dead bus-size Earth observation satellite positioned in low Earth orbit. Earlier as per the European Space Agency, Harpoon was to be used, but it is decided to use a robotic arm as it can repurpose for orbital missions.
According to Guglielmo Aglietti, director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey if the experiments prove to be successful, soon the technologies could be carried to a higher and much-advanced level. The world’s space agencies also acknowledge the fact that taking care of the Space environment is highly valuable and this mission can be revolutionary on the road for cleaner space.