The UK Space Agency has reportedly announced a series of projects during the 72nd International Astronautical Congress, held in Dubai, to help with the safe and long–term clearance of debris from orbit.
According to credible sources, to aid in the cleanup of harmful space junk floating in orbit the United Kingdom will collaborate with different partners from across the world.
In the series of collaborative initiatives, the UK Space Agency has inked a partnership with the UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs) to support the next stage of global efforts to encourage space sustainability.
Funding from the UK Space Agency will go towards a joint effort to raise worldwide knowledge and understanding of space sustainability and how to effectively apply the UN Guidelines for the Long–Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.
Under the initiative, two private space firms Astroscale and ClearSpace, have been provided funding by the UK Space Agency to explore a UK-led mission to clear space trash, bolstering the government's ambition to become a world leader in space debris removal.
Meanwhile, the agency is also collaborating with US-based firm, Numerica Corporation, to obtain high-quality SST (space surveillance and tracking) data from a global network of optical telescopes as well as cutting-edge software solutions to keep United Kingdom satellites running securely.
UK Science Minister, George Freeman, stated that these new initiatives will consolidate the UK's leadership position in cleaning up the Earth's orbit, which has been ignored so far, and help to keep satellites operational so that they can continue to offer critical services like climate change monitoring and communications.
These are the most recent developments in the UK Space Agency's efforts to clean up space. Back in 2020, it awarded seven UK firms a portion of nearly £1 million to track space junk.
As per estimates, currently there are 900,000 fragments of space junk circling Earth, including wasted rocket bodies, defunct satellites, and even tools that were dropped by astronauts during space walks.