Space-trash satellite clears junk for first time

The world now has a much-needed, refuse-collection service - in space.

The British-designed satellite, known as RemoveDEBRIS, was designed to remove potentially dangerous pieces of trash orbiting around the Earth.

The satellite comes equipped with a net and harpoon, and is the first practical attempt to clean up space trash.

During its trial in space on Sunday, the garbage net shot out of the spacecraft and caught the junk, before dragging it into a new orbit, which immediately burned it up.

Professor Guglielmo Aglietti, director of Surrey Space Centre, said he was "absolutely delighted" with the result.

"While it might sound like a simple idea, the complexity of using a net in space to capture a piece of debris took many years of planning, engineering and co-ordination," he told ITV News.

Around 7000 tonnes of junk are stuck in Earth's low orbit, with NASA tracking over 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a cricket ball.

They pose a massive risk to spacecraft in the event of a collision, which could put any human crew's lives at risk.


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