Four-armed robots cleared to commence space debris removal by ESA in 2026

The European Space Agency (ESA) has given ClearSpace, a Swiss-based space business, permission to launch its first project, ClearSpace-1, in 2026. The main goal of the project is to remove space debris that is still in orbit around the planet. This space debris endangers both current and future missions.

Space debris has accumulated significantly as a result of the recent high rise in space launches, particularly by private companies. This debris could collide with current satellites and other space vehicles, inflicting damage and perhaps disrupting communication systems.

ClearSpace-1, a massive four-armed robotic spacecraft, has been built. It aims to collect space debris and transfer it towards Earth to ignite in the atmosphere.  The main aim of the spacecraft will be the upper stage of the Vega Secondary Payload Adapter (VESPA) that was deployed by an ESA rocket in 2013.

Following VESPA approval, ClearSpace seeks to provide the technology for autonomous debris management in space. Future missions will be sent by the business to determine whether the space debris requires to be refueled or deorbited to extend its life.

To address the issue of space debris, ClearSpace now employs a 90-person crew. In October of last year, they conducted a proof-of-concept test. Currently that the ESA has given its recent clearance, the team will strive to complete ClearSpace-1’s designs, procure equipment, and construct the full-scale mission that will launch in 2026.

Almost 5,000 non-operational objects are currently in space. This is contrary to the 3,400 functioning satellites in their orbit, according to the ClearSpace website. It is anticipated that the popularity of services like satellite internet would increase the amount of space junk in orbit.

The ESA is expected to carry out several missions as part of its zero-debris goal. The anticipated cost of the ClearSpace-1 mission is $132 million. ESA assessed a braking sail earlier this month that can deorbit satellites when their mission is finished.

The safety of ongoing and upcoming space missions depends on ClearSpace’s goal to remove space junk. The number of nations planning to launch space missions will likely rise, contributing to an increase in space debris. An important aspect of reducing this threat will be played by ClearSpace’s cutting-edge technology and collaboration with the ESA.

A major accomplishment for ClearSpace is the ESA’s acceptance of the launch of ClearSpace-1 in 2026. This mission is anticipated to revolutionize the space debris cleanup industry. In addition to removing space debris, the mission will open the door for subsequent missions that can care for space junk on their own. With the use of this technology, ClearSpace hopes to promote long-term space exploration sustainability and guarantee the security of current and next space missions.