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.
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.