Title: Europe Will Pay $103 million to Remove 1 Space Junk By 2025

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The European Space Agency has signed a $103 mil. contract with a Swiss startup ClearSpace. The goal of this contract is to remove a single space debris in 2025. This project seems expensive but involves an orbiting, mouth-like net, which could deal with the continuing pileup of orbiting space junk surrounding the Earth’s atmosphere.

ClearSpace is a spin-off of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). The company will be collaborating with Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, among several other European countries.

They are targeting the collection of 247-pound Vega Secondary Payload Adapter (Vespa) that has been orbiting around Earth since 2013. The adapter was part of the Proba-V satellite into space but currently serves no purpose.

While $103 mil. for a single space junk seems expensive, the European Space Agency is betting on it becoming a new commercial sector in an industry that continues to be highlighted as being the “next big thing.”

The net and spacecraft combo needs to capture the adapter which is currently traveling at speeds up to 17,400 miles per hour, and even the slightest miscalculation could cause serious collision. Assuming all goes well, the net will capture the adaptor and the spacecraft can return to Earth, burning the cargo on re-entry.

Currently, European Space Agency estimates that the space debris in orbit being tracked are at about 22,300. As items are added, chances for collision increases making the Earth’s orbit highly dangerous.

The Goal of this mission will be to guarantee the possibility of space travel for generations to come.

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