After orbital billboards, StartRocket now wants to cleanup space

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As the likes of SpaceX puts more satellites into orbit, one has to wonder about what happens to all the once useful gear when it becomes less useful.

While a lot of older spacecrafts eventually find a home back here on Earth at Point Nemo, a lot more just simply floats above us.

One company trying to clean up space debris is Russian startup StartRocket.

Founded in 2018, the startup grabbed headlines last year when it said it wanted to build billboards in space but now it seems it wants to put less junk in space.

“The problem of space debris is getting more and more serious and presents significant risks for current and future initiatives and technological developments for space exploration. In the current situation, it is important that the scientific community acts together to find the solution,” says StartRocket consultant, Alexander Shaenko.

This drive has caught the eye of Kaspersky which is keen to highlight the issues surrounding space pollution.

According to the Orbital Debris Program Office at NASA there are approximately 500 000 marble sized debris objects in Earth’s orbit and over 100 000 000 objects 1mm or smaller in size.

So rather than trying to put more stuff in space, StartRocket wants to address that.

It plans to do so with something called the Foam Debris Catcher (FDC). There’s not really much information about that so it could be a pipe-dream just like the Orbital Display was.

The FDC is said to be a satellite which is launched toward space debris. When it arrives it releases foam which the debris adheres to, the satellite then falls back to Earth burning up in the “dense layers of the atmosphere”.

“The Foam Debris Catcher is the cheapest and most scalable solution. If we compare our solution to the newest ones, the FDC is going to be much cheaper than alternative options. We achieve these costs by using all possible technologies: step-by-step launching, high precision mathematical models and Earthly-based infrastructure that tracks garbage,” said Shaenko.

It all sounds a bit, broad doesn’t it. While it does seem like a good idea we’d like to see a prototype of the FDC before we laud it as the saviour of space.

With that having been said it is interesting to see Kaspersky supporting StartRocket and we’re watching the pair with interest.

A website highlighting the problem of space debris, which you can visit here, has been developed by Kaspersky and StartRocket to showcase the initiative.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.


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