Space won’t clean itself, will it? Well, not exactly, or ever! In 2026, an ambitious Swiss company called ClearSpace intends to undertake an “active debris removal mission” in order to remove a piece of space debris. Recently, the ClearSpace-1 mission has just been introduced atop an Arianespace Vega-C rocket. What are the mission’s goals, and what do the scientists plan to do exactly? We’ve discussed the key points of one of the most intriguing space missions we’ll witness.
The simple shape of this space debris will allow [the mission] to demonstrate the technologies of the spacecraft and its quartet of robotic arms, thus opening the way for more challenging missions with multiple captures per flight, reads a statement by Arianespace.
Up to now, the Vega-C rocket has flown twice into orbit. Its first flight, which took place back in July 2022, was successful, and the researchers collected all the necessary data. However, the second one, which launched back in December 2022, failed because of a problem with a rocket nozzle. These results were made from a report by ESA in March.
According to a news statement published by Arianespace, ClearSpace-1’s objective is to “rendezvous, capture, and remove a piece of space debris.” Quite impressive, isn’t it?!
The investigative commission’s suggestions will be put into practice, and Arianespace has promised to aim for a late 2023 launch with Vega-C 2. So, if everything goes according to plan on the mission, the Vega-C rocket will collide with a payload adapter left behind by another Vega rocket back in 2013.
Cool facts about the Vega-C rocket:
A more potent version of the 2012-debuting Vega rocket family is the current Vega-C rocket. Arianespace claims that the new rocket can actually carry up to 5,070 pounds (2,300 kilograms) of cargo. That’s just brilliant, compared to the previous rocket’s 3,300 pounds (1,500 kg), to a 435-mile-high (700 km) sun-synchronous orbit.