Harpoon System Will Remove Defective Satellites And Space Junk
Dr Jaime Reed, from Astrium UK claims, that space has become an essential part of our infrastructure – from weather forecasting and Earth observation, to GPS and telecommunications. Space junk threatens to these vital services if we do nothing about it, thus it’s absolutely necessary to develop technologies to remove it. At present there are over one million pieces of junk, such as fuel tanks, lost tools and parts of derelict satellites, between 1cm and 10cm in size, without mentioning 5,200 derelict satellites. To solve this problem Astrium UK has offered to develop a system to harpoon defective or excessive satellites and bring them out of the sky.The system would see the harpoon fired at any potentially threatening satellite from close range; a propulsion pack tethered to the projectile would then pull the junk downwards, to burn up in the atmosphere. The harpoon system will include about 30cm long barbed spear mounted on a “chaser satellite” that would advance to within 100m of a junk object.