UK design to 'harpoon' old satellites
It is a response to the ever growing problem of orbital junk - old pieces of hardware that continue to circle the Earth and which now pose a collision threat to operational spacecraft.
The harpoon would be fired at the hapless satellite from close range.
A propulsion pack tethered to the projectile would then pull the junk downwards, to burn up in the atmosphere.
"Space has become a critical part of our infrastructure - from weather forecasting and Earth observation, to GPS and telecommunications," said the harpoon's designer, Dr Jaime Reed, from Astrium UK.