the european consortium arianespace announced on Tuesday the signing of a contract with the company ClearSpace for the launch in the second half of 2026 of a first mission to clean up junk spaceHe, who can open the door to others in the future.
He contract plans to launch on board a Vega C rocket, the smallest in the Arianespace range, a small satellite that will be attached to a 112-kilo space debris to, through a maneuver of return into the atmosphere, knock it out of orbit.
Specifically, the mission, baptized as ClearSpace-1will tackle a piece of junk left behind by a Vega rocket on its second mission in 2013.
“With a mass similar to that of the small sateliteits simple shape will make it possible to demonstrate the effectiveness of ClearSpace-1 technologies, especially its gripper system made up of four robotic arms, which opens the way for more ambitious multiple withdrawal missions in the course of the same flight”, he indicates. Arianespace in its statement.
The executive president of the consortium, Stéphane Israël, recalled that there are at least 34,000 remains of more than 10 centimeters that gravitate in the space and some 6,500 satellites in service, a figure that will exceed 27,000 by the end of this decade, which demonstrates the “urgency” of finding solutions to preserve it.
For Luc Piguet, CEO and founder of ClearSpace, the mission “It represents a turnaround in the space industry” because it provides solutions for sending gadgets into space that are not subsequently removed when they are no longer useful.