Harpoons, nets and big tentacles: the big space junk clean-up ...

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Harpoons, nets and big tentacles: the big space junk clean-up plan

Celestial litter-pickers to also use lasers and giant nets to prevent debris smashing up valuable satellites

Tom Hoggins

The collision could have been catastrophic. At about 11am on Monday, a satellite by the European Space Agency was forced to rapidly fire its thrusters to avoid crashing into rival SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.

It was the first time ESA has had to conduct such an “avoidance manoeuvre” with an active satellite – and it is unlikely to be the last.

Earth’s orbit is becoming increasingly crowded. There are more than 8,400 tons of space junk in orbit travelling at speeds up to 28,160km/h, which is fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital to damage another satellite or spacecraft...

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