Like a Tow-hook for Satellites: Astroscale Launches Docking Plate to Capture Defunct Satellites

PARIS (Astroscale PR) — Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today revealed a universal docking device the company hopes will become standard fitment on all future low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Following on from the COP26 climate conference, Paris Peace Forum Net Zero Space Declaration, and the G7 statement on space sustainability, Astroscale calls on operators to prepare their spacecraft with a Docking Plate to prepare for future removal and to help safeguard the space environment.

There are an unprecedented number of satellites due to launch over the next decade, the majority into LEO, (250km to 2000km above Earth). The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved 16,447 satellites within constellations to date and has applications pending for an additional 64,816 satellites. The potential for high-velocity, high impact collisions is likely to increase unless disposal of satellites becomes part of everyday space operations.

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Astroscale Ltd. Announces UK Office Development on Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire

HARWELL, Oxford, UK, Nov. 9, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Ltd., the UK subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced plans to develop new offices and satellite manufacturing facilities within the Zeus building complex located on Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire, UK.

Astroscale’s new UK office will be at the heart of the Harwell Campus Space Cluster, close to stakeholders such as the European Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult, UK Space Agency, and many key industry partners. The interior fit-out will begin this month, with the intention to move into the new offices by summer 2022.

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Astroscale and New Zealand to Cooperate on Space Safety and Sustainability

TOKYO (Astroscale PR) — Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand’s Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (“MBIE”) to cooperate on areas of space safety and sustainability, including debris mitigation and remediation, and on-orbit servicing in general.

The collaboration is focused on partnership in projects and activities that support long-term space sustainability, including joint technology development and research. To initiate these efforts, Astroscale and MBIE have identified an initial project in collaboration with Rocket Lab and Te Pūnaha Ātea–Auckland Space Institute, which will define the engineering requirements, policy challenges and associated costs for multi-active debris removal missions with clients that require direct re-entry due to survivability of components. The project will assess the mitigation strategy for up to three large debris objects with a single servicer in low Earth orbit and will aim to further demonstrate the viability of commercial debris removal while advancing the state of orbital sustainability.

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UK Working with Global Partners to Clear up Dangerous Space Debris

Location of the 24,000 debris larger than 10 cm in low orbit in 2020. (Credits: NASA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency is today announcing a range of different initiatives aimed at supporting safe and sustainable space operations.

From developing our space tracking capabilities and promoting international efforts in space sustainability, to finding novel ways of removing space debris – the UK is leading the way to ensure the Earth’s orbit can continue to be used now and in the future.

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Astroscale’s ELSA-d Successfully Demonstrates Repeated Magnetic Capture

TOKYO, Aug. 26, 2021 (Astroscale PR)  Astroscale’s End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) successfully tested its ability to capture its client spacecraft using the servicer’s magnetic capture system, in a demonstration performed on Wednesday, August 25 (UTC).

A major challenge of debris removal, and on-orbit servicing in general, is docking with or capturing a client object; this test demonstration served as a successful validation of ELSA-d’s ability to dock with a client, such as a defunct satellite.

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Space to Become ‘Most Vital Domain’ For National Security, Say Defense Leaders in New KPMG/Space Foundation Report

  • Content based on interviews with nearly two dozen industry and defense leaders
  • Report determines that space domain partnerships are central to national security
  • Countries are realigning defense organizations to recognize the importance of space

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 17, 2021 (Space Foundation PR) — Space Foundation, a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983 for the global space ecosystem, in partnership with KPMG International, today released a new report exploring how space will define the future of national security. The report “Navigating Space: A Vision for Space in Defense,” finds that space will likely define the future of national security and as the pace of innovation quickens, defense organizations see space domain partnerships as central to their national security.

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G7 Nations Commit to the Safe and Sustainable Use of Space

CORNWALL, UK, 13 June 2021 (UK Space Agency PR) — Today at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, delegates from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA, the UK and the EU pledged to take action to tackle the growing hazard of space debris as our planet’s orbit becomes increasingly crowded.

One of the biggest global challenges facing the space sector is orbital congestion and space debris. There are currently an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris including old satellites, spent rocket bodies and even tools dropped by astronauts orbiting Earth. Space debris could stay in orbit for hundreds of years and present a real danger to the rapidly increasing number of new satellites being launched each year.

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Government Fund Will Support New Ideas for Cleaning up Space

Orbital debris distribution (Credit: ESA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Space firms are being invited to apply for a share of up to £800,000 [$1.1 million] in funding from the UK Space Agency to develop ideas for space debris removal missions.

One of the biggest global challenges facing the space sector is orbital congestion and space debris. There are currently an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris including old satellites, spent rocket bodies and even tools dropped by astronauts orbiting Earth. Space debris can stay in orbit for hundreds of years and present a real danger to the rapidly increasing number of new satellites being launched each year.

The UK Space Agency is looking to fund two active debris removal feasibility studies through its Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) programme, which aims to make space safer and more sustainable. The feasibility studies will develop a debris removal mission concept and system design. The deadline for applications is the 13 July 2021 and the opportunity is open to businesses, non-profits and academics.

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Astroscale UK Signs £2.5 Million Agreement to Develop Space Debris Removal Technology Innovations with OneWeb

Rendering of the ELSA-M satellite in orbit. (Credit: Astroscale)

DIDCOT, UK, May 24, 2021 (Astroscale UK PR) – Astroscale UK announces funding award from partners OneWeb, the global satellite communications network, to mature their technology and capability towards a commercial service offering by 2024.

This latest £2.5 million [$3.5 million] award forms part of a larger beam-hopping satellite programme, totalling over £32 million [$45.3 million], granted from the UK Space Agency, via the European Space Agency’s Sunrise Programme to partners including OneWeb, SatixFy, Celestia UK and Astroscale UK.

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Fun with Figures: The Rise and Fall of the Commercial Proton Booster

Proton on launch pad (Credit: ILS)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Russia recently marked the 25th anniversary of the entry of the Proton rocket into the international commercial marketplace. On April 8, 1996, a Proton-K booster with a DM3 upper stage launched the Astra 1F geosynchronous communications satellite built by U.S.-based Hughes for Luxembourg’s SES from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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ELSA-d Debris Removing Spacecraft Launched

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

TOKYO, March 23, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, confirmed the successful launch of its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration (ELSA-d) mission. This marks the start of the world’s first commercial mission to prove the core technologies necessary for space debris docking and removal. ELSA-d, which consists of two satellites stacked together — a servicer designed to safely remove debris from orbit and a client satellite that serves as a piece of replica debris — was launched by GK Launch Services into a 550 km orbit on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday, March 22, at 6:07 am (UTC).

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Soyuz Rocket Launches 38 Satellites into Orbit

Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifts off from Baikonur with 38 satellites. (Credit: Glavkosmos webcast)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — This morning, March 22, 2021, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and 38 spacecraft on board was launched from the launch pad No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. 

After 1 hour and 3 minutes after the launch, the main payload was separated – the South Korean satellite for Earth remote sensing CAS500-1. At the moment, after processing telemetry information, the upper stage has successfully completed all stages of the program for placing the remaining 37 spacecraft into target orbits.

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Soyuz-2 to Launch 38 Spacecraft from 18 Countries on March 20

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On March 20, a launch of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage is scheduled from the Baikonur Cosmodrome that will deliver 38 spacecraft (SC) from 18 countries into three sun-synchronous orbits:

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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.

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Astroscale Announces March 2021 Launch Date for World’s First Commercial Active Debris Removal Demonstration Mission

End-of-Life Service by Astroscale demonstrator (ELSA-d) satellite. (Credit: Astroscale UK Ltd)

ELSA-d is the first mission to demonstrate the core technologies necessary for space debris docking and removal, a major step towards expanding on-orbit services and achieving Astroscale’s vision of safe and sustainable space for the benefit of future generations.

TOKYO, November 18, 2020 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market-leader in securing long-term orbital sustainability, today announced that its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission will launch on a Soyuz rocket operated by GK Launch Services from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in March 2021.

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