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UK Space Agency Funds Debris Removal Project Led by ClearSpace

By Mark Holmes | September 26, 2022
A rendering of the Clear servicer capturing a derelict satellite.

A rendering of the CLEAR servicer capturing a derelict satellite. Photo: ClearSpace

ClearSpace won a new contract from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to lead a consortium to design a debris removal mission. The contract announced Monday follows the successful completion of a feasibility study of the Clearing of the LEO Environment with Active Removal (CLEAR) mission to remove two U.K.-registered derelict objects from Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). A consortium led by ClearSpace has now been awarded a follow-up contract by the UKSA to perform the preliminary design of the mission.

ClearSpace and its partners successfully completed this first study phase in March 2022. The new contract, worth 2.2 million pounds ($2.39 million) will be for the next phase of this mission. This design phase will last until October 2023 and will finish with the preliminary design review — an evaluation of the progress on the design and the technical adequacy of the proposed mission. The CLEAR mission, which will advance key technology building blocks, is a catalyst for the development of commercially viable disposal services.

ClearSpace’s partners include Alden Legal, AstroAgency, Critical Software, Deimos, MDA, Orbit Fab, Satellite Applications Catapult, and the University of Surrey’s STAR LAB.

“ClearSpace is honored to work with the UKSA to improve the safety and sustainability of our orbital neighbourhoods. We are excited to work with cutting-edge UK-based space companies to make space debris removal a reality. The continuation of the CLEAR mission allows us to continue to develop state-of-the-art space technologies, such as complex robotics and AI-based algorithms, within the U.K.,” Rory Holmes, ClearSpace UK managing director said in a statement.