The UK Space Agency has renewed its efforts to tackle the “neglected” issue of space debris, amid concerns it could damage satellites and impact SatNav use.
Space debris and orbital congestion is one of the largest issues in the global space sector, as it could cost launching companies millions in damaged satellites.
With seven space ports in planning and a blossoming satellite market, the UK has turned its attention to getting rid of the around 900,000 pieces of debris currently orbiting Earth – which include spent rocket bodies and tools from astronauts.
The UK Space Agency is set to work with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to help make the sector more sustainable.
“The sustainability challenges this new era creates must be addressed as a priority to ensure that the space sector can thrive,” UNOOSA director Simonette Di Pippo said.
While two space debris clearing firms Astroscale and ClearSpace have been injected with funding to spearhead a UK mission to clear the junk from orbit.
Science minister George Freeman said: “Growing reliance on satellites for a range of everyday utilities from SatNav to meteorology is making the space tech sector increasingly valuable to the UK economy.”
“These new projects will support our leading role in cleaning up our orbit, which has been neglected for far too long, and will help keep satellites operating safely so they can continue to provide vital services such as communications and climate change monitoring.”