British Satellite Tests its Space Junk Harpoon

Universe Today | 2/17/2019 | Staff
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Last summer, a new type of debris-hunting satellite was released from the International Space Station (ISS). It’s known as the RemoveDebris spacecraft, a technology-demonstrator developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and the Surrey Space Center. The purpose of this satellite is to test whether satellites equipped with targeting software, a debris net and a harpoon are effective at combating space debris.

For the past few months, this spacecraft has been conducting a series of Active Debris Removal (ADR) exercises. About a week ago, according to a recent statement, the RemoveDebris satellite tested out its harpoon for the first time. As you can see from the video, the satellite successfully demonstrated its harpoon system and verified its ability to secure space debris and keep it from flying away.

Test - Place - Friday - Feb - Satellite

The test took place on Friday, Feb. 8th, and consisted of the satellite’s harpoon striking a target plate that was mounted on a boom 1.5 m (4.9 ft) away. The harpoon (which was developed by Airbus Defense and Space) was launched at a velocity of 20 meters per second (72 km/h; 45 mph) and speared the target while an attached cable kept the device from flying off into space.

As Guglielmo Aglietti, the director of the Surrey Space Center at the University of Surrey and the principal investigator for RemoveDebris, said in a University of Surrey press release:

RemoveDebris - Experiment - Fact - Success - RemoveDebris

“This is RemoveDebris’ most demanding experiment and the fact that it was a success is testament to all involved. The RemoveDebris project provides strong evidence of what can be achieved with the power of collaboration – pooling together the experience across industry and the research field to achieve something truly remarkable.”

This test was the third in a series designed to evaluate and validate the RemoveDebris’ systems ability to deal with space junk. The first test took place back in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Universe Today
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