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ClearSpace-1 Mission Changes in Response to Debris Collision

Artistic impression of the ClearSpace-1 servicer. Credit: ClearSpace.

Ibadan, 25 April 2024. – The ClearSpace-1 debris removal mission has undergone a transformative period to achieve a faster execution pace and reviewed mission objectives. After the successful completion of its mission’s first phase, the detection of space debris objects in the vicinity of the mission’s client object, which indicates a collision of the target with untraceable debris, and the need for a change towards a more expedited and cost-effective approach prompted a pivot in the next stage of the ClearSpace-1 mission.

As a result, ESA and ClearSpace made the decision to change the debris target, adjust the requirements for the mission and simplify the structure of its industrial team to reduce industrial risks while ensuring a swift and cost-effective execution of this groundbreaking mission. In this context, ESA gave the green light for the continuation of the preparatory phase, which OHB SE will lead. The European space and technology Company will consequently provide the satellite bus and be in charge of the system integration and launch.

The new ClearSpace-1 mission is now to rendezvous with PROBA-1, capture it and then conduct a perigee decrease maneuver. The mission will also employ a four-armed capture mechanism to grab the client satellite, and once captured, the stack will safely re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up.

Speaking on the mission, Luc Piguet, ClearSpace CEO, said, “We continue pushing the boundaries of in-orbit servicing and lay the foundations of a sustainable space operation. We believe that a strong partnership between startups and established large prime contractors highlights the best of both worlds to build reliable, competitive, and scalable products and services within an agile and dynamic collaboration.”

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