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ESA planning missions to take out space trash

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ESA planning missions to take out space trash

27 September 2012

Half a century of space exploration has created a shroud of junk around Earth. As part of its Clean Space initiative, ESA plans to tackle the problem directly: by designing dedicated removal missions.

Around 5000 space launches since 1957 have led to an orbiting population of more than 22 000 trackable objects larger than a coffee cup. Only about 1100 of these are working satellites – the other 95% are space debris.

More than a hundred European experts from industry, academia and national space agencies gathered at ESOC – ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany – on 17–18 September to discuss ways to actively remove debris from orbit.

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