Astroscale Completes the First Test of Satellite Capture Technology

Astroscale Completes the First Test of Satellite Capture Technology

The business stated that its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) spacecraft had successfully completed a test earlier, in which the main "servicer" spacecraft released a small client spacecraft and subsequently recaptured it using a magnetic mechanism.

Fremont, CA: By releasing and then recapturing a small satellite, Astroscale has completed the first major test of technology for capturing and removing objects in orbit.

The business stated that its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) spacecraft had successfully completed a test earlier, in which the main "servicer" spacecraft released a small client spacecraft and subsequently recaptured it using a magnetic mechanism. Since the debut of ELSA-d in March, this was the first time the client had dissociated from the servicer.

According to him, the test was brief, with the client traveling a few millimeters barely before the servicer fired its thrusters and reunited with the client. The entire test took a few seconds.

If this test is successful, the company will be able to move on to more ambitious testing in the future. The servicer will conduct inspections on the client's spacecraft as well as capture the client while it is falling. The servicer and client will deorbit at the end of the test program. These tests, according to Blackerby, will take place over the following few months.

Astroscale is working on a number of projects to create technology for servicing satellites and removing debris, including ELSA-d. On a mission to inspect an upper stage from a Japanese launch, the firm is collaborating with the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Similar to Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle, the business is building a servicer spacecraft called Life Extension In-Orbit that will dock with geostationary satellites and take over stationkeeping and attitude control. The work on life extension is being done in Astroscale's US office, which launched in April 2019 and now employs 30 to 35 employees.

Astroscale is working on ELSA-m, a next-generation version of its ELSA spacecraft, according to Blackerby. The spacecraft, which is being developed in the company's UK facility, will be capable of capturing many pieces of debris.

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