Astroscale to test space junk cleanup tech with ‘ELSA-d’ launch in 2021

Technology that could help humanity get a handle on the growing space-junk problem will get an orbital test early next year.



a man standing in front of a cake: Astroscale's ELSA-d mission will launch in March 2021 to test space junk-removal tech.


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Astroscale’s ELSA-d mission will launch in March 2021 to test space junk-removal tech.

The End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission will launch in March 2021 atop a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, representatives of the Japan-based company Astroscale announced last week.

“We now have the launch in our sights,” ELSA-d project manager Seita Iizuka said in a statement. “The ELSA-d program demonstrates complex and innovative capabilities that will support satellite operators in realizing options for their post-mission disposal strategies and establish Astroscale as a global leader in the on-orbit servicing market.”

Related: 7 wild ways to destroy orbital debris

ELSA-d consists of two spacecraft that will launch together — a 385-lb. (175 kilograms) “servicer” and a 37-lb. (17 kg) “client.” The servicer

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Research chemists discover cells’ unexpected clean-up techniques — ScienceDaily

In a new paper with results that senior author Eric Strieter at the University of Massachusetts Amherst calls “incredibly surprising,” he and his chemistry lab group report that they have discovered how an enzyme known as UCH37 regulates a cell’s waste management system.

Strieter says, “It took us eight years to figure it out, and I’m very proud of this work. We had to develop a lot of new methods and tools to understand what this enzyme is doing.”

As he explains, a very large protease called a proteasome is responsible for degrading the vast majority of proteins in a cell; it may be made up of as many as 40 proteins. It has been known for more than 20 years that UCH37 is one of the regulatory enzymes that associates with the proteasome, he adds, “but no one understood what it was doing.”

It turns out that the crux

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Ocean Cleanup launches its first ocean plastic product: sunglasses

“It was actually quite a challenge, because this material has sometimes been out there for decades,” says Boyan Slat, CEO and founder of the Ocean Cleanup. “A lot of this stuff is quite brittle, quite degraded. It’s also very mixed. You see half of it being fishing nets, the other half being more rigid objects, like bottles and crates. So turning it into a usable material was quite a journey. When we announced that we were going to do this late last year, we didn’t know whether we could do it.”

The nonprofit unveiled its first ocean plastic product today, a pair of $199 sunglasses made from the new material and created by star designer Yves Behar. To get to the final product, the team worked with a series of partners to sort through the waste they’d pulled out of the water, wash it, shred it, and turn it into

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