ESA Plans Missions To Deal With Defunct Satellites

Ask any company like, and they’ll say that dealing with junk removal can be a huge problem. They, however, don’t have to deal with the kind of junk that the European Space Agency has to deal with; space debris.

So, when the ESA proposed their latest plan for getting rid of defunct orbiting satellites, a lot of people, even those outside of companies like, took notice.

ESA General Director Johann-Dietrich Worner spoke during the ESA”s ministerial council that of the 4,500 satellites orbiting the Earth, only 1,500 are actually active. On top of that, they’re also expecting that the problem will only grow rose, with the number of satellites launched going up annually.

Earlier in July 2019, Amazon requested permission from the US Federal Communications Commission for the launch of more than 3000 satellites into Low Earth Orbit in order to bring broadband to parts of the world that don’t have much of it.

Worner stated that the Earth has a meteorite problem, noting how evidence points to a meteorite being the thing that made the dinosaurs extinct. He says that humanity doesn’t want to die because of a meteorite, and that we should really investigate that. To have ways to spot meteorites, and to have something that’ll allow us to fight it, which is why the proposal with the Americans is being looked at.

Another issue Worner talked about is the space debris issue, from old satellites, and the like. He notes that the ESA has about 4,500 satellites in orbit, with only 1,500 active, which is a huge danger. For that reason, he says, they are proposing a mission where they bring down an ESA-owned defunct asset, not just as a way to deal with their defunct satellites, but also to show that direct de-orbiting is a viable way to avoid future space debris.

There’s been a few proposals to deal with the world’s worsening space junk issue. Satellites, harpoons, nets, and other technology are being developed aimed at providing garbage-removal spacecraft the necessary tools to deal with defunct satellites and safely pull it down to the Earth’s atmosphere, where it can burn up by itself.