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ClearSpace Passes ESA First Program Review for Debris Removal

Artistic impression of the spacecraft approaching the space debris object. Credit: ClearSpace

Ibadan, 22 February 2023. – ClearSpace and its industrial partners have passed their first major program review with the European Space Agency (ESA) for its mission to remove a large debris object from Earth orbit. With this milestone, the Company has shown its ability to meet the mission’s technology requirements. In addition, ESA and the participating States have reconfirmed their support for active debris removal by fully funding the next phase of the ClearSpace-1 program during ESA’s Ministerial Council last November.

In 2020, ESA commissioned ClearSpace to build, launch, and fly a novel deorbit mission that will rendezvous with and capture a large piece of debris in orbit and then safely pilot the object into Earth’s atmosphere. As a key step in developing the debris-removal mission, the Company designed a four-armed capture system for its robotic satellite. This innovative technology successfully passed proof-of-concept testing at ESA’s ESTEC technology center in the Netherlands in October 2022, a major milestone that contributed to the Company’s successful program review.

As a result, ClearSpace is now qualified for the next phase of ClearSpace-1, continuing with its industrial partners on the satellite’s detailed design, procurement of spacecraft equipment, and manufacturing of the engineering model servicer satellite, all with an eye toward launch as soon as 2026.

Commenting on this, Muriel Richard-Noca, ClearSpace Chief Technology Officer and Cofounder, said, “along with an experienced European industrial team and the close collaboration with ESA, we were able to reach this important milestone in an effective and technologically sound manner.”

Last January 19. ClearSpace announced that it had finalized a EUR 26.7 million series A financing round to further accelerate the movement toward the sustainable use of space.

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