CleanSpace One Satellite Project from EPFL allies with S3
CleanSpace One is a satellite designed by EPFL’s engineers to clean up the bits of jettisoned rocket and satellite components orbiting Earth. Although collisions of space debris with functioning satellites are rare, each collision can generate several thousand new bits of debris. CleanSpace One’s mission is to grab hold of a piece of space junk and thrust it into the atmosphere, where it will burn up.
Now Swiss Space Systems (S3) has joined the project. S3 is developing a new method to launch satellites weighing up to 250 kg, and will take charge of CleanSpace One’s launch, scheduled for 2018. The goal of their new three-phase launch process, using a jetliner and a shuttle to send the satellite to space, is to make space more accessible. In addition, it cuts launch costs by a factor of four. Further, to make sure that the process does not end up putting even more space debris in Earth orbit, S3 will ensure that all the elements include their own re-entry systems.
“You can’t democratize space access without having a responsible attitude,” says Pascal Jaussi, CEO of Swiss Space Systems. “If we don’t deal with the problem of orbiting space debris and its accumulation, future generations’ access to space will be compromised.”
EPFL researchers have tested many technologies that could potentially be integrated into the satellite, some that are already on the market, and others still in the development stages in companies and universities. The European Space Agency, ETH Zurich, CSEM and the Swiss Universities of Applied Science are participating in this project as well. Their developments will be integrated into the CleanSpace One project.