Roscosmos plans to build an apparatus to clean the orbit of space debris
Over the past few weeks, Roskosmos has shown unprecedented activity: there is already a plan to create an orbital lunar base, a project to create elements and equipment for a surface lunar base, a project to create a lunar rover, and even a project to extract minerals on the moon.
Now another project has appeared, to create a space scavenger - an apparatus capable of cleaning the Earth’s orbit from space debris, or at least a part of it.
Such an apparatus is planned to be created in 2016-2025, and the practical implementation of the project will begin in 2018, and the ship will already be tested in 2025. The name of the ship was very indicative - "Liquidator".
According to the plan, the mass of the “Liquidator” will be about 4 tons, and in one working cycle it will be possible to remove up to ten idle satellites and also booster blocks. In time, the cycle will last no more than 6 months. In total, such a device is planned to be used for about 10 years.
“The task of creating such an apparatus is extremely complex. The contractor is not defined. I believe that the projects of several manufacturers with experience in the creation and operation of spacecraft in geostationary orbit will be considered. These are RSC Energia, the Khrunichev GKNPTS, the Lavochkin NGO, and the Reshetnev ISS. It can be assumed that those companies that have wider experience of convergence and docking in orbit will have some advantage, since these technologies will be in demand here, ”said Alexander Danilyuk, First Deputy Director General of TsNIImash.
It is worth noting that most of the garbage is in low orbits, up to 2 thousand kilometers. True, the Liquidator, according to the plan, should begin work from an orbit of 36 thousand kilometers (geostationary orbit), which is considered the most commercially interesting. It is planned to use two possible options: either transfer the garbage to a higher orbit, where all this will not interfere with the current work of other satellites, or push the garbage from orbit so that it sooner or later enters the Earth’s atmosphere and falls near Christmas Island (there direct most spacecraft orbiting).
For the implementation of such a project, Roscosmos asks for 10.8 billion rubles. So far, of all Roscosmos’s plans, the most expensive is the plan to create an ultramodern national satellite constellation (350 billion rubles) and the creation of an ultra-heavy launch vehicle (214.6 billion rubles).