September 20, 2018
The current boom in nanosatellite launches could see the quantity of space debris soar within the next two years, massively raising the potential for collisions.
This should be very worrying, as it took a mere fleck of paint to crack a window on the International Space Station.
Researchers from Airbus and the University of Surrey have managed to capture a small satellite in space using a net fired from another spacecraft.
Amazing footage shows a net being shot through outer space to clean up dangerous space debris
Researchers from Airbus and the University of Surrey in England have captured a small satellite in space using a net fired from another spacecraft.
Here's the actual footage of the moment:

That makes "Space Debris Catcher" sound like one of the coolest jobs going in the future.
But it's one possible solution to a very serious problem. The boom in nanosatellite launches underway right now could see the number of Low Earth Orbit spacecraft increase tenfold within a couple more years.
If space junk piles up, it could cause thousands of collisions — and it only took a fleck of paint travelling at 34,500 kilometres an hour to crack a window on the International Space Station.
Space startups focus on putting more satellites into space. Cleaning up their mess — being nowhere near as attractive to VCs — is almost wholly reserved for universities and science agencies.
An Australian team is still working on nudging space junk into lower orbits with lasers so it will burn up.
And then there's that net you just watched in action. The Surrey Space Centre team behind it calls it RemDEB (RemoveDEBRIS), and it's co-funded by the European Commission.
Amazing footage shows a net being shot through outer space to clean up dangerous space debris
The demonstration was set up to prove it works. You saw the main satellite platform deploying a CubeSat, then shooting a net to capture it. It took six years of experimenting in drop towers and thermal vacuum chambers to get it to this point.
During that time, Elon Musk, Boeing, OneWeb, and Samsung alone threatened to add nearly 14,000 small satellites to LEO.
The next RemDEB experiment will aim to deploy a harpoon involved, and a dragsail to force it back into Earth's atmosphere to burn up.
"We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of the net technology," said Professor Guglielmo Aglietti, director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey.
"While it might sound a simple idea, the complexity of using a net in space to capture a piece of debris took many years of planning, engineering and coordination between the Surrey Space Centre, Airbus and our partners — but there is more work to be done.
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