Russia's state-run corporation Roscosmos develops a project of a space cleaner - a satellite that will be able to "blow away" space junk.
Currently, every new space launch leaves two or three fragments of spacecraft in near-Earth space. It can be a rocket stage, an upper stage or detachable fuel tanks. These fragments may circle around Earth for a long time, creating problems for space stations and satellites.
According to general director of TsNIIMASH Oleg Gorshkov, the problem is very serious, because there were as many as 17,800 large objects (larger than ten centimeters) staying in Earth's orbit in the middle of 2016. Russia, the United States and China are the three countries that create most of space garbage, the Izvestia newspaper wrote.
"The spacecraft is equipped with ion engines on opposite sides. The satellite approaches a defunct spacecraft and activates the engines on opposite sides. The cleaning spacecraft remains in place while "shooting" a stream from one of the engines to displace the defunct object from orbit. The latter will thus lose its speed and go off orbit," said Gorshkov.
According to him, with the engine power of about 5 kW, the time to displace a target satellite will take up to 15 days, depending on the weight and dimensions. Roskosmos was planning to implement the space garbage cleaning project a long time ago. The project, called "Liquidator" was included in the draft Federal Space Program for 2016-2025.
Read More: PravdaReport
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