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Surrey Research Park Success for second RemoveDebris experiment

November 6, 2018 | News

Success for second RemoveDebris experiment

On Sunday 28th October, RemoveDEBRIS carried out a test of its onboard vision-based navigation (VBN) system by releasing a target cubesat from its spacecraft to monitor its movement and behaviour. The system took images of the descending object, gaining accurate information vital for measuring distance, direction and speed of space debris.

Led by the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, the RemoveDEBRIS mission is fuelled by a consortium of world leading space organisations from across the globe. The spacecraft is operated by engineers at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) on the Surrey Research Park.

The spacecraft was initially deployed from the International Space Station in June 2018. In September 2018, RemoveDEBRIS carried out its first ground-breaking experiment when it used a net to capture a deployed target simulating a piece of space debris.

The US Space Surveillance Network tracks approximately 40,000 objects and there is estimated to be more than 7,600 tonnes of ‘space junk’ in and around Earth’s orbit.

Co-funded by European Commission, there are two more experiments currently planned to test more ADR technologies. The next one will test the first harpoon capture technology used in orbit. Following this, a drag-sail will be deployed to move RemoveDEBRIS into the Earth’s atmosphere bringing its mission to a close.

Read more about the RemoveDEBRIS mission here.