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Waspie_Dwarf

UK design to 'harpoon' old satellites

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Waspie_Dwarf

UK design to 'harpoon' old satellites

UK engineers are developing a system to harpoon rogue or redundant satellites and pull them out of the sky.

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.

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