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DAY 4

DAY 4

DISCOVER FOUR WAYS TO CLEAN UP SPACE

RemoveDEBRIS programme declutters space

Imagine this: 500,000 objects constantly circling the Earth. Most are junk, spinning out of control. If just one piece hits a satellite, it could plunge our mobile phone service or GPS into a black-out. 

Space junk is a serious problem, one which Airbus has been working to tackle for years, through programmes such as CleanSat. “Airbus not only has the know-how to get objects into space but the skills to bring them out of orbit, too,” says Ingo Retat, who has been heading up Airbus’ involvement in the University of Surrey and European Commission RemoveDEBRIS project.

The latest breakthrough came in February this year, when a 150mm harpoon – the bright idea of 24-year old Airbus engineer Alexander Hall, based in Stevenage, UK – was successfully tested in space, proving its ability to skewer a piece of junk and drag it out of orbit. 

Under the high-tech hood of the experiment is a firing mechanism that uses the same tether attachment technology used in traditional fishing harpoons. “Sometimes the simple solutions are the best,” Alexander says. 


“Airbus not only has the know-how to get objects into space but the skills to bring them out of orbit, too.”

Ingo Retat, RemoveDEBRIS project

Day 2: SURF THE SKIES WITH PERLAN

Day 2: SURF THE SKIES WITH PERLAN

Glider conducts research at the edge of space

Day 3: UP CLOSE WITH THE WORLD’S MOST FLOWN WIDEBODY

Day 3: UP CLOSE WITH THE WORLD’S MOST FLOWN WIDEBODY

Since the 1980s, the versatile A330 has carried over 1 billion people

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