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Critical Software integrates Britain's first space junk removal mission - Science

Critical Software integrates Britain’s first space junk removal mission – Science

The Critical Software is one of nine companies selected by the British Space Agency To integrate the task of removing space debris, which is already at the design stage.

The Portuguese tech company is part of a consortium of nine companies, ClearSpace, led by the British unit of the company of the same name, and will be responsible for Providing specialized services for equipment control, system troubleshooting and recovery.

In October last year, the British Space Agency selected the consortium
ClearSpace to conduct a feasibility study for the task that Remove at least two abandoned satellites in low Earth orbitif all goes well, in 2026, according to official note.

In the first stage of the process, Critical explains, the companies in the consortium explored different scenarios for the mission, defining requirements and choosing the technologies needed to carry out the mission. In March of this year, a new contract, only now revealed, was awarded to the coalition The design phase of the Clearing Low Earth Orbit Environment Through Active Removal (CLEAR) mission, which will run through 2023.

You are The satellites to be targeted by the British mission have been inactive for more than 10 years, at an altitude of 700 km and, if not removed, could remain in orbit for a century. The removal will be A way to protect the safety of other active satellites and reduce environmental impact To operate Earth observation systems, which is growing at a rapid pace with the proliferation of location-based services.

“We are excited to join ClearSpace as part of this pioneering consortium. There More than five thousand non-functional objects orbiting the Earth and more than three thousand active satellites“, Confirms Rodrigo Pascual, Director of Business Development at Critical Software. “As space traffic becomes more intense, the importance of removing these objects to help protect satellites from collisions increases,” the official adds. Estimated number of Debris in Earth’s orbit (some multiplied by the impact of collisions) much higher and It may already be about 130 million, The British say.

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The British Space Agency project is being implemented from Portugal, in cooperation with Critical’s UK office. The company believes in it Debris removal will become the fastest growing in the managed services (IOS) the next years.

The The European Space Agency has also set its first mission in this field. It is scheduled in 2025 with the participation of four Portuguese companies. The Critical Software and Deimos lead the development of two mission subsystems.

The The mission, valued at 86 million euros, is also led by ClearSpaceIn addition to Portugal, it also includes companies from Germany, Sweden, Poland, the United Kingdom, Romania and the Czech Republic.

In 2025 the plan is to go into space and Bring to Earth a cone-shaped piece of 112 kilograms the size of a small satellite (2 meters in diameter and 1.6 meters in height).
A remotely controlled vehicle will be launched from the ground and steered to reach Vespa, which has been in orbit since 2013. cWith the help of four robotic arms, it will grab onto the wreck, and using its thrust, it will descend in a controlled manner. In order for both to disintegrate safely in the atmosphere, this was explained at the time.

The Critical Software leads on-board software developmentas well as systems that will manage Vespa capture, system fault detection and recovery, equipment control, and heat and power management for the spacecraft.

The Deimos Engenharia leads the consortium, which also includes the Portuguese companies Lusospace and ISQ which are developing guidance, navigation and control systems. (GNC) that will drive the movement of the satellite, a kind of “autopilot” for the satellite. The consortium will also be responsible for conducting tests to support Clearspace in assembly, integration, testing and mission operation.

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