CleanSpace One is a Swiss mission to test space debris capture and deorbit technology. Developed by the Swiss Space Center at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and announced in February 2012, the CleanSpace One project is a rare example of a concrete mission to actively remove orbital debris. The system works by grabbing a defunct satellite and plunging with it into the atmosphere, there to hopefully burn up. EPFL plans to avoid any legal complications by target one of two Swiss CubeSats, ensuring the deorbit manevuer is performed with the satellite owner’s agreement.

The mission is now a step closer to reality through an agreement with Swiss Space Systems (S3) who is expected to invest about  $16 million in developing an aircraft based launch mechanism for small satellites like CleanSpace One. The launch is currently planned for 2018.

Read the announcement here and watch below for an explanation of the partnership:

Image caption: Active debris removal satellites like the proposed CleanSpace One will be limited in their targets by debris ownership issues (Credits: EPFL).

About the author

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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