How a Swiss robot plans to clean up space

Switzerland's ClearSpace startup has won a major European Space Agency contract to clean up space junk with a robot. The increasing amounts of debris pose risks to satellites and other space missions.

This content was published on December 5, 2020 - 11:00

ClearSpace is using technology developed by engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Their four-armed robotic junk collector will be launched into space by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2025.

Its first mission is to grab a small piece of a European Vega rocket, launched in 2013. A lot of debris has accumulated over six decades of low-orbit activities and ESA hopes the mission will pave the way for a wide-reaching clean-up operation.

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