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