Astroscale has announced its intention to continue the experiment, during which its spacecraft will try to “catch” a satellite simulating a fragment of space debris.
Astroscale’s “space cleaner” was launched into orbit in March last year. The purpose of its mission is to work out the technology of docking with inactive satellites and their subsequent removal from orbit.
The first demonstration took place in August. Then a small target satellite separated from the main 175-kilogram vehicle and moved away from it by a few centimeters. After that, the devices docked again.
In January 2022, Astroscale conducted a new experiment. This time, both satellites were separated at a distance of several tens of meters, after which they were supposed to begin approaching and docking. However, the operation failed due to a malfunction of the main device.
According to recent statements by representatives of Astroscale, its engineers managed to solve most of the technical problems. Currently, the main concern is the engines. Of the eight power units on board the main device, four could not be restored. Nevertheless, Astroscale believes that the remaining four engines will be enough to conduct an experiment. In the near future, the devices will be separated at a distance of 160 m, after which they will begin to converge.
According to https://spacenews.com
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