A UK-led experiment to tackle space junk is set to head into orbit.
It takes the form of a small satellite that will practise techniques for tracking debris and capturing it.
The RemoveDebris system is going to the International Space Station where astronauts are expected to set the experiment running in late May.
Space junk is an ever-growing problem with more than 7,500 tonnes of redundant hardware now thought to be circling the Earth.
Ranging from old rocket bodies and defunct spacecraft through to screws and even flecks of paint – this material poses a collision hazard to operational missions.
About the RemoveDebris mission:
RemoveDebris is an EU (European Union) research project to develop and fly a low-cost in-orbit demonstrator mission that aims to de-risk and verify technologies needed for future ADR (Active Debris Removal) missions.
RemoveDebris is aimed at performing key ADR technology demonstrations (e.g., capture, deorbiting) representative of an operational scenario during a low-cost mission using novel key technologies for ADR. The project is based on and aimed at contributing to global/European ADR roadmaps.