The mission is headed by the Swiss company ClearSpace but companies from Germany, Sweden, Poland, United Kingdom, Romania, Czech Republic and the Portuguese Critical Software and Demios, with a total value of 100 million euros, participate.
The goal, to be fulfilled in 2025, is to go to orbital space and bring down a piece of conical shape with 112 kilos and the size of a small satellite (two meters in diameter and 1.6 meters high), just one of about of 28,000 debris left around the Earth after thousands of space launches. A remote-controlled vehicle from Earth will be launched and guided until it reaches the Vespa, which was in orbit after the launch of a Veja rocket in 2013 between 664 and 801 kilometers in altitude.
Then, with the help of four robotic arms, the intercepting vehicle will grab the debris and, using its propulsion, descend in a controlled manner, causing both to disintegrate harmlessly into the atmosphere.
The problem of space debris in Earth’s orbit is recognized by the European Space Agency as a growing threat that could destroy a satellite or other space vehicle in the event of a collision.
Even if there was never a space launch again, space debris would continue to grow due to collisions that would create even more debris.
In the future, the Agency hopes that the technology of this type of missions will evolve to allow the elimination of several different debris at once without having to destroy the intercepting vehicle as well.