Astroscale leads on UK's first national MISSION TO REMOVE SPACE DEBRIS
Astroscale reveals how its Active Debris Removal servicer can help secure the economic and environmental future of space.
The UK Government has a strategic priority to lead the global effort to clean up space. Astroscale has an innovative solution based on in-orbit heritage that will capitalise on world-leading technology from an industrial partnership across the breadth of the UK. The COSMIC mission – Cleaning Outer Space Mission through Innovative Capture – will harness Astroscale’s Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) and robotic debris capture capabilities to remove two defunct British satellites currently orbiting Earth by 2026.
The animation video below highlights how Astroscale’s COSMIC servicer will get the job done. Astroscale is currently working with selected industrial partners on the design of a spacecraft that will incorporate an innovative robotic arm to safely and securely capture a defunct satellite in low Earth orbit (LEO). Following capture, COSMIC will manoeuvre the defunct satellite out of the LEO environment and release it into a lower disposal orbit where it will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. The COSMIC servicer will then go on to rendezvous with, capture and remove a second debris object.
Astroscale most recently proved its magnetic capture and RPO capability in-orbit during the ground-breaking End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission in 2021-2022. ELSA-d was licensed in the UK and operated from the National In-orbit Servicing Centre at Harwell – a new centre developed in partnership between Astroscale and the Satellite Applications Catapult and supported by UKRI. During the ELSA-d mission, the Astroscale operations team performed a series of complex manoeuvres to align, release and capture a demonstration satellite with a servicer spacecraft using relative navigation and autonomous on-board systems.
The COSMIC debris removal servicer will be a technological evolution of Astroscale’s End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-Multi-client (ELSA-M) servicer – a commercial partnership together with the European and UK Space Agencies and OneWeb, the global satellite operator, under the Sunrise programme. The first ELSA-M servicer will be launched ahead of the UK’s Active Debris Removal mission in 2025.