The space industry must make a plan for how it will tackle the problem of dangerous debris careering around space, Rory Holmes, UK managing director at ClearSpace UK, said.

Speaking at the Space Comm Expo 2022, he said: “For the last 50-60 years, we’ve been launching things into space, but we’ve been treating all the satellites and rockets as single use items.

“So when they went out of fuel, when they break, we just discard them we leave them to career around space and collide even or get in the way of other active objects.

“We’ve created this problem where we’ve cluttered space with debris and junk.

“And that has to stop, we need to do something different now, we need to be sustainable in how we do space operations.”

UK Space Agency contract

ClearSpace has been awarded a £2.2 million contract by the UK Space Agency to remove two derelict UK objects which have been inactive for more than 10 years.

These objects are otherwise predicted to stay in orbit for a century before they naturally re-enter the atmosphere and are located in a very congested region of LEO, above 700 km altitude, endangering the space environment and the safety of space operations.

Holmes added: “These are really big problems and we need to work together. So ClearSpace can’t bring all the solutions and we want to work with partners who can help. We need to solve this together.”
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