Since the launch of the world's first artificial satellite `` Sputnik 1 '' by the former Soviet Union in 1957, about 8950 satellites have been sent to the Earth orbit so far, orbiting without performing special missions `` The increase in “space debris” has become a serious issue.
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), as of January 2019, its total weight exceeds 8400 tons.
On December 9, 2019, the European Space Agency announced that it would launch a mission to remove space debris from Earth orbit by investing 117 million euros (about 14,111 million yen).
In collaboration with the start-up company “ Clear Space ”, which was established by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, approved by the Ministerial Conference “ Space 19+ ” held in Seville, Spain at the end of November , 2025 The project will be started in March 2020 for the execution of the mission. European Space Agency Secretary Jan Verner said, “How dangerous would it be to navigate the high seas if all the ships lost so far were still on the water? The situation cannot be continued. ”
This mission named “Clear Space-1” collects and removes small space debris for proof of concept. The target is a secondary load adapter for a satellite launch vehicle "Vega" launched by the European Space Agency in 2013 and left in orbit at an altitude of 660 to 800 km. VeSPA ”.
The world's first space dust collector collects "VeSPA" with four robot arms, and then comes off the orbit and falls into the atmosphere and disappears. Prior to the series of missions, the first plan is to launch a dedicated space debris collector into an orbit at an altitude of 500 km.
As an attempt to remove space debris, start-up company Astroscale, headquartered in Tokyo, launched a space debris removal satellite “ELSA-d” in 2020 with a Russian rocket “Soyuz 2” in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The plan to launch from the space station is revealed.