Astroscale Achieves Major Milestone Ahead of First UK National Mission to Remove Space Debris – Astroscale

Astroscale Achieves Major Milestone Ahead of First UK National Mission to Remove Space Debris - Astroscale
  • Astroscale Ltd. (“Astroscale UK”), the UK and European subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc, has successfully completed the System Requirements Review of its Active Debris Removal (ADR) mission, COSMIC – Clearing Outer Space Mission through Innovative Capture.
  • This important milestone validates Astroscale’s mission to help secure a sustainable space environment for future generations and is a significant step for the UK Government’s ambition to lead the global effort to clean up space.   

Astroscale playfully demonstrates the significance of its latest milestone to its vision for a safe and sustainable space for the benefit of future generations. 

The System Requirements Review (SRR) is a critical milestone in the satellite development phase. Led by the UK Space Agency, the review focused on the evaluation of technical requirements including the concept of the mission, initial design of the robotic arm, and detumbling methods. The SRR data pack was delivered in July 2023 and the co-location meeting with the UK Space Agency was held in early August. The achievement highlights the strong relationships Astroscale has with its UK based partners, developing a robust in-orbit servicing supply chain and expanding capabilities and skills in the UK.

Astroscale UK is now further refining the COSMIC mission on multiple fronts including technical, business and regulatory to meet the next major milestone, which is the preliminary design review, planned in January 2024.

“Astroscale’s mission is to support the safe and sustainable development of space, so that our children and generations to come can continue to live in a world that can harness the full infinite potential of space without the worry of congested orbits,” said Nick Shave, Managing Director of Astroscale UK. “We are proud to have achieved this key milestone for the first national Active Debris Removal mission, working closely with our UK-focused industrial partners and supply chain, which will enable Astroscale to further develop the commercial in-orbit servicing economy supporting the UK Space Agency’s delivery priority to become a leader in space sustainability.”

“We are a step closer to developing a spacecraft that can approach, analyse, and safely capture two client satellites that were not designed with capture in mind,” said Sarah Cawley, Senior Project Manager for COSMIC at Astroscale. “It’s an exciting challenge and we’ve been building on our in-house engineering expertise and in-orbit heritage, which puts us in a leading position to realise this innovative solution to remove space debris.”

Ray Fielding, Head of Sustainability & ADR Mission at the UK Space Agency, said “Passing the System Requirements Review is a major milestone in mission development, so this is a significant achievement for Astroscale and the UK space sector. Through programmes such as our national debris removal mission, we continue to demonstrate UK drive and leadership in the critical issue of space sustainability.”

The COSMIC debris removal spacecraft will be a technological evolution of Astroscale’s End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-Multi-client (ELSA-M) servicer – a commercial partnership together with the European and UK Space Agencies and OneWeb, the global satellite operator, under the Sunrise programme. Designed to provide an end-of-life service for private satellite operators to deorbit defunct satellites, the first ELSA-M servicer will be launched ahead of the UK’s Active Debris Removal mission in 2025.

More information on COSMIC can be found here.