One year after having been appointed by the European Space Agency to the beard of European giants, the young shoot from EPFL ClearSpace signed the contract with the ESA committing it to desorb orbit space debris. The launch of the machine is planned for 2025.
ClearSpace leads a European consortium whose task is to produce the first satellite intended to capture and desorb orbit space debris. The Lausanne start-up has benefited from the experience accumulated since 2012 of the EPFL Space Center in this area to win the call for tenders against groups such as Airbus or Thales.
The consortium’s first task is the capture and controlled entry into the atmosphere of an element of the upper stage of the Vega launcher, sent into space by ESA in 2013, evolving in an orbit at 660 km from ‘altitude. The launch of ClearSpace-1 is planned for 2025.
The mission is unprecedented in more ways than one, wrote EPFL in a press release on Friday. It is the first time that we have started a start-up in an area where government agencies and other major players reign supreme and it is the first time that a space agency finances a specific program to recover debris.
To meet this challenge, the start-up ClearSpace has increased its workforce from five to 20 employees. “We have launched a call for tenders, to which more than fifty companies have responded across Europe,” said Luc Piguet, CEO of ClearSpace, quoted in the press release.
20 European partners
About twenty partners, spread across the eight participating countries, were selected, including four companies in Switzerland, in addition to EPFL. The ClearSpace-1 team has until March 2021 to conceive the precise design of the satellite, the mission operation, define all the subsystems, etc., specifies the CEO.
The team ready, the detailed project has been presented to ESA, which has just accepted it, notes EPFL again. The technology developed for the project is a sort of sprawling net intended to catch debris.
You should know that thousands of satellites and other elements put into orbit during the last 60 years have dispersed in increasing numbers in the immediate space environment of Earth. Now, revolving around our planet at a speed of 28,000 km / h, all of these elements represent dangerous projectiles for operational satellites and astronauts on the International Space Station. (ATS / Le Matin)
Created: 10.07.2020, 12h04