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UK commits new funding to combat space debris

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 26, 2020
There are an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris larger than 1 cm orbiting the Earth, with only a small proportion of them tracked.
UK Space Agency
Funding   UK Space Agency
The UK Space Agency is providing up to £1 million for organisations to come up with smart solutions to this problem by using cost effective ways to monitor objects in low Earth Orbit, or applying artificial intelligence to make better use of existing orbital data.

Tracking debris allows satellite operators to predict possible collisions so that they can manoeuvre them out of harm’s way. One collision could create thousands of small, fast-moving fragments which can damage the satellites that provide everyday services such as communications, weather forecasting or satellite navigation.

The UK is committed to the international effort to clean up space debris as the largest investor in space safety for the European Space Agency, including a substantial £10 million commitment to the ADRIOS (Active Debris Removal/In orbit servicing) programme.

The new funding is part of the UK Space Agency’s plans to grow its national space surveillance and tracking (SST) capability and, working with international partners, become a global leader in space sustainability.


 

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