Astroscale Struggling with Non-functional Thrusters on Orbital Debris Capture Mission

The ELSA-d satellite servicer and client launched March 2021, the team prepares to demonstrate the servicer’s technology and capability to remove the Client debris from this summer. Credit: Astroscale)

TOKYO (Astroscale PR) — Our team has made excellent progress addressing the anomalies experienced starting in January during the ELSA-d Autonomous Capture demonstration, with most issues either resolved or mitigated. However, there remains one issue that we have not been able to resolve: four of the servicer’s eight thrusters have experienced technical difficulties and are now non-functional. This has impacted our ability to perform a capture of the client as planned for in this demonstration.

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Astroscale Halts ELSA-d Capture Attempt Due to Anomaly

The ELSA-d satellite servicer and client launched March 2021, the team prepares to demonstrate the servicer’s technology and capability to remove the Client debris from this summer. (Credit: Astroscale)

TOKYO (Astroscale PR) — We have begun operations for our groundbreaking ELSA-d debris removal mission’s next phase: an autonomous capture demonstration in orbit. On January 25th, the ELSA-d servicer spacecraft successfully released its client spacecraft and began autonomous relative navigation, maintaining a constant and safe distance from the client spacecraft over multiple orbits, as designed.

Following an excellent start to mission operations, our team detected anomalous spacecraft conditions. For the safety of the mission, we have decided not to proceed with the capture attempt until the anomalies are resolved. Both spacecraft are operational and safely separated. We are in communication with agencies, regulators, space surveillance networks, and our orbital neighbors. We are continuing with the mission and will provide an update as soon as possible.

Surrey Satellite to Lead UK Space Agency Project to Study Active De-orbit of Space Debris

Novel technology will be required for these ambitious steps, which are proposed as part of the new ‘Protect’ Accelerator, one of three currently being defined to help shape Europe’s future in space. (Credit: ESA)

The LEOPARD (Low Earth Orbit Pursuit for Active Debris Removal) study will define concepts for de-orbiting 2 uncooperative UK space assets from low earth orbit

GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been selected to lead a UK Space Agency study to define the mission requirements for a complex mission to de-orbit two non-operational space debris targets. SSTL is a world-leader in the manufacture and in-orbit operation of small satellites, and has valuable experience in two previous Active Debris Removal (ADR) demonstration missions; RemoveDEBRIS, which concluded a series of debris retrieval demonstrations in January 2019, and Astroscale’s 2021 ELSA-d mission for which SSTL supplied the Client “target” satellite.

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Astroscale Closes Its Largest Funding Round to Date, Bringing Total Capital Raised to U.S. $300 Million

Additional U.S. $109 million in capital will accelerate on-orbit services technology development, facility expansion and global hiring.

TOKYO, Nov. 25, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it closed its Series F round with additional funding of U.S. $109 million from a group of new investors led by THE FUND Limited Partnership in Japan, with participation from international investors including Seraphim Space Investment Trust plc (“Seraphim Space”) in the United Kingdom and DNCA Invest Beyond Global Leaders, a sub-fund of the umbrella structured fund “DNCA Invest” incorporated under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, managed by DNCA Finance, a Limited Partnership in France. This is the largest funding round in the company’s history and brings the total amount raised to U.S. $300 million, affirming investors’ confidence in the rapidly expanding on-orbit servicing market.

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Like a Tow-hook for Satellites: Astroscale Launches Docking Plate to Capture Defunct Satellites

PARIS (Astroscale PR) — Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today revealed a universal docking device the company hopes will become standard fitment on all future low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Following on from the COP26 climate conference, Paris Peace Forum Net Zero Space Declaration, and the G7 statement on space sustainability, Astroscale calls on operators to prepare their spacecraft with a Docking Plate to prepare for future removal and to help safeguard the space environment.

There are an unprecedented number of satellites due to launch over the next decade, the majority into LEO, (250km to 2000km above Earth). The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved 16,447 satellites within constellations to date and has applications pending for an additional 64,816 satellites. The potential for high-velocity, high impact collisions is likely to increase unless disposal of satellites becomes part of everyday space operations.

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Astroscale Ltd. Announces UK Office Development on Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire

HARWELL, Oxford, UK, Nov. 9, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Ltd., the UK subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced plans to develop new offices and satellite manufacturing facilities within the Zeus building complex located on Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire, UK.

Astroscale’s new UK office will be at the heart of the Harwell Campus Space Cluster, close to stakeholders such as the European Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult, UK Space Agency, and many key industry partners. The interior fit-out will begin this month, with the intention to move into the new offices by summer 2022.

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UK Working with Global Partners to Clear up Dangerous Space Debris

Location of the 24,000 debris larger than 10 cm in low orbit in 2020. (Credits: NASA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency is today announcing a range of different initiatives aimed at supporting safe and sustainable space operations.

From developing our space tracking capabilities and promoting international efforts in space sustainability, to finding novel ways of removing space debris – the UK is leading the way to ensure the Earth’s orbit can continue to be used now and in the future.

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Astroscale’s ELSA-d Successfully Demonstrates Repeated Magnetic Capture

TOKYO, Aug. 26, 2021 (Astroscale PR)  Astroscale’s End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) successfully tested its ability to capture its client spacecraft using the servicer’s magnetic capture system, in a demonstration performed on Wednesday, August 25 (UTC).

A major challenge of debris removal, and on-orbit servicing in general, is docking with or capturing a client object; this test demonstration served as a successful validation of ELSA-d’s ability to dock with a client, such as a defunct satellite.

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Developing the “Brains” Behind Astroscale’s Debris Removal Spacecraft

The ELSA-d satellite servicer and client launched March 2021, the team prepares to demonstrate the servicer’s technology and capability to remove the Client debris from this summer. Credit: Astroscale)

Astroscale UK has been working in partnership with RUAG Space to develop the “brains”, based on RUAG Space’s constellation On Board Computer (cOBC), to command Astroscale’s space debris removing ELSA-M Servicer spacecraft.

DIDCOT, UK (Astroscale UK PR) — Developing the “brains” behind Astroscale’s debris removal spacecraft Astroscale UK has been working in partnership with RUAG Space to develop the “brains”, based on RUAG Space’s constellation On Board Computer (cOBC), to command Astroscale’s space debris removing ELSA-M Servicer spacecraft.

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G7 Nations Commit to the Safe and Sustainable Use of Space

CORNWALL, UK, 13 June 2021 (UK Space Agency PR) — Today at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, delegates from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA, the UK and the EU pledged to take action to tackle the growing hazard of space debris as our planet’s orbit becomes increasingly crowded.

One of the biggest global challenges facing the space sector is orbital congestion and space debris. There are currently an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris including old satellites, spent rocket bodies and even tools dropped by astronauts orbiting Earth. Space debris could stay in orbit for hundreds of years and present a real danger to the rapidly increasing number of new satellites being launched each year.

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Government Fund Will Support New Ideas for Cleaning up Space

Orbital debris distribution (Credit: ESA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Space firms are being invited to apply for a share of up to £800,000 [$1.1 million] in funding from the UK Space Agency to develop ideas for space debris removal missions.

One of the biggest global challenges facing the space sector is orbital congestion and space debris. There are currently an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris including old satellites, spent rocket bodies and even tools dropped by astronauts orbiting Earth. Space debris can stay in orbit for hundreds of years and present a real danger to the rapidly increasing number of new satellites being launched each year.

The UK Space Agency is looking to fund two active debris removal feasibility studies through its Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) programme, which aims to make space safer and more sustainable. The feasibility studies will develop a debris removal mission concept and system design. The deadline for applications is the 13 July 2021 and the opportunity is open to businesses, non-profits and academics.

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UK Companies Join Forces to Build Revolutionary Beam-hopping Satellite

Rendering of the ELSA-M satellite in orbit. (Credit: Astroscale)

LONDON, 24 May 2021 (OneWeb PR) — A group of UK space tech companies are developing a new beam-hopping satellite that will allow satellites to switch which part of the world they cover, managing real-time surges in commercial demand or responding to emergencies such as natural disasters, thanks to Government funding.

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Astroscale UK Signs £2.5 Million Agreement to Develop Space Debris Removal Technology Innovations with OneWeb

Rendering of the ELSA-M satellite in orbit. (Credit: Astroscale)

DIDCOT, UK, May 24, 2021 (Astroscale UK PR) – Astroscale UK announces funding award from partners OneWeb, the global satellite communications network, to mature their technology and capability towards a commercial service offering by 2024.

This latest £2.5 million [$3.5 million] award forms part of a larger beam-hopping satellite programme, totalling over £32 million [$45.3 million], granted from the UK Space Agency, via the European Space Agency’s Sunrise Programme to partners including OneWeb, SatixFy, Celestia UK and Astroscale UK.

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ELSA-d Debris Removing Spacecraft Launched

ELSA-d satellite prepared for launch in a cleanroom at Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

TOKYO, March 23, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, confirmed the successful launch of its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration (ELSA-d) mission. This marks the start of the world’s first commercial mission to prove the core technologies necessary for space debris docking and removal. ELSA-d, which consists of two satellites stacked together — a servicer designed to safely remove debris from orbit and a client satellite that serves as a piece of replica debris — was launched by GK Launch Services into a 550 km orbit on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday, March 22, at 6:07 am (UTC).

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Soyuz Rocket Launches 38 Satellites into Orbit

Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifts off from Baikonur with 38 satellites. (Credit: Glavkosmos webcast)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — This morning, March 22, 2021, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and 38 spacecraft on board was launched from the launch pad No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. 

After 1 hour and 3 minutes after the launch, the main payload was separated – the South Korean satellite for Earth remote sensing CAS500-1. At the moment, after processing telemetry information, the upper stage has successfully completed all stages of the program for placing the remaining 37 spacecraft into target orbits.

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