Space roomba


The Swiss have a plan for cleaning up space junk currently in orbit, they have made an annoucement about a debris removal device which is hoped to be launched in in three to five years. The first objecting of the program will be to capture two Swiss owned sattelties.

There’s a space junk issue in orbit. In fact, NASA tracks a half-million pieces of orbital debris... more generally gets added with new launches, and there is always the possibility current debris could be fractured in to more from objects reentering orbit and hitting ones there. Cleaning that up does sound like a good thing. The plan is to detect the offending item, match its trajectory, grab it somehow (which includes halting any spinning that it’s doing), then encapsulating everything for an eventual re-entry. Looks like they plan on the whole robot burning up along with the junk during that final stage.


Swiss scientists said Wednesday they plan to launch a “janitor satellite” specially designed to get rid of orbiting debris known as space junk.

The 10-million-franc ($11-million) satellite called CleanSpace One — the prototype for a family of such satellites — is being built by the Swiss Space Center at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanne, or EPFL.

EPFL said Wednesday its launch would come within three to five years and its first tasks are to grab two Swiss satellites launched in 2009 and 2010.

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