Spacewatch: mission to clean up space debris set for launch

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Astroscale hopes its Elsa-d satellite will demonstrate a system to remove unwanted pieces of junk

Elsa-d, the world’s first commercial mission to demonstrate a space debris removal system, is scheduled to launch at 06:07 GMT on 20 March from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Developed by Astroscale, a Japanese-UK company, the mission will be operated from the UK’s in-orbit servicing control centre (IOCC) at Satellite Applications Catapult in Harwell, near Oxford. The End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration mission (Elsa-d) is a small satellite designed to find, rendezvous and clamp on to an unwanted satellite. It will then push it into the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up.

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