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Satellite net collects space junk for the first time

By Thomas Moore, science correspondent
Debris orbiting the Earth at more than 17,000 mph has been snared by a prototype "junk hunting" satellite for the first time.
The experimental RemoveDebris satellite first released the metal object and then fired a five metre wide net to capture it from a distance of six metres.The weight of the net will drag the toaster-sized object into the atmosphere over the next few months, where it will burn up.
Satellite net collects space junk for the first time

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The technology was developed at the Surrey University Space Centre
The success of the test paves the way for routine missions to clean-up the thousands of redundant satellites currently in orbit.RemoveDebris was designed and built by a consortium led by Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey.
Satellite net collects space junk for the first time

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Video:
NASA animation of orbital space junk
Professor Guglielmo Aglietti, director of the centre, told Sky News that he was "delighted" they had overcome the technical challenges involved."The difficulty that we have is that you want to capture your piece of debris with the net, you want to envelop the piece of debris, then at the same time you want to draw a string so you actually capture the thing so it can't escape," he said."To synchronise all this, as you can imagine, is a bit challenging."
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