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Pentagon aims to collect space waste

Program to fund innovative ideas kicks off

The Pentagon is aiming to clean up space debris. In low Earth orbit, in fact, there are more than 40,000 pieces of debris, including spent rocket parts and spent satellites flying uncontrolled. This junk is constantly monitored by the government defense agency, as it can pose a serious danger to the International Space Station and other satellites, including those used by US intelligence to ensure national security.

For this reason, the US Department of Defense and other government agencies started a program called Orbital Primerecently, led by the US Space Force. Washington will invest money to use the services of companies that will develop the technology needed to clean up space. In the first phase of the program, companies can win grants of up to 250,000 dollars, which will be capped at 1.5 million dollars in a second round of funding. The program will culminate with an in-orbit test demonstration. 

Among the many companies planning to participate the program there is Japan Astroscale. The company is developing a spacecraft that would be able to intercept and grab objects in orbit, using a magnet. It is currently working on recovering a part of the rocket. The future is already mapped out.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency