28 Mar '15, 8pm

"ESA Tests Satellite-Snagging Nets for Orbital Trash Removal"

Space junk is a serious problem, and not just in the movies . While avoiding the creation of space junk in the first place by designing spacecraft from the beginning to deorbit themselves is probably the most realistic long-term solution , the interim may require active measures to mitigate some of the trash that's already up there. The European Space Agency has been developing a mission to capture and deorbit a piece of debris, and their latest test involves launching weighted anti-junk nets in microgravity. For these tests, 20 nets of different designs (in rainbow colors to make them easier to see on videos) were fired at different speeds at a target using compressed air. To simulate weightlessness, each test was conducted inside a Falcon 20 jet as it accelerated towards the ground, which sounds like puke-inducing fun: The net looks like it could be a great solution for ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/satellites/e...

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