Astroscale ELSA-d Orbital Debris Removal Satellite Prepared for Launch From Baikonur

ELSA-d satellite prepared for launch in a cleanroom at Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME (Roscosmos PR) — The developer of the ELSA-d spacecraft, Astroscale, continues to work on site No. 92 of the Baikonur cosmodrome in preparation for the upcoming launch. At the moment, the software, solar batteries and their opening mechanisms have been successfully tested, the on-board batteries are charged, the electrical checks of the apparatus have been completed.

The ELSA-d satellite mission will be the first to showcase the basic technologies needed to dock and remove “space debris” – a key step towards expanding the range of orbital services and achieving Astroscale’s vision of space as a long-term safe space for the benefit of future generations.

The refueling team, which prepares the spacecraft for launch, has passed an important stage – on February 23, 2021, it completed the filling of ELSA-d with environmentally friendly “green” fuel. ELSA-d will be sent to site 31 for final checks and integration as part of the space warhead of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket.

Key capabilities of the ELSA-d spacecraft:

  • Complex solution for rendezvous and docking, including rendezvous operations from long and short distances;
  • search and approach to the object, using absolute and relative navigation;
  • inspection with a fly-over of the object with an assessment by the operator;
  • docking plate for convenience when removing “debris”;
  • magnetic capture of a stabilized and randomly rotating object at night;
  • the ability to re-launch into orbit, de-orbit and transfer to passive mode;
  • safety evacuation and passively safe trajectories as part of the mission program;
  • full-scale ground segment, customized for the customer to provide in-orbit service.

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Astroscale is the first privately held company to pursue a long-term goal of safe space for the benefit of future generations, and the only company that is solely dedicated to providing services in all types of orbits.

Founded in 2013, Astroscale develops innovative and scalable solutions for a range of in-orbit maintenance missions (including life extension, local situational awareness, end-of-life services, and active removal of space debris “) with the aim of creating long-term space systems and solving the problem of dangerous accumulation of space debris. Astroscale also defines business models and works with interested government and commercial players to develop regulations and incentives for the responsible use of space.