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ESA sets March meeting on space debris

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The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Clean Space initiative will gather leaders from the satellite industry in March to discuss the growing problem of space debris.

ESA sets March meeting on space debris

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Clean Space initiative will gather leaders from the satellite industry in March to discuss the growing problem of space debris.

ESA’s initiative is aimed at safeguarding both terrestrial and space environments from the pieces of old satellites and spent rocket stages still orbiting the earth.

ESA estimates there are more than 12,000 trackable items of space debris in orbit and hundreds of thousands of pieces of space debris larger than 10 centimeters.

“This workshop is an essential step for involving the whole European space sector in shaping the way forward for low-orbiting satellites,” said ESA organizer Jessica Delaval. “Companies will have the opportunity to put forward their own technologies for debris mitigation.”

ESA guidelines call for all satellites to be removed from space within 25 years of their active life.

“So mitigation methods are having to be built into new low-orbit missions, with important implications for their design – not least because any mass added to the platform means less is left for the payload, the part of the satellite that actually achieves the mission goal,” said Delaval.

With more countries developing space technologies, ESA estimates humans are adding 200 pieces a year to the logjam orbiting the Earth.

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