Looking to the Stars for the Silver Lining

Posted April 8th, 2020 Posted in Blog

By Sean Ainley, Senior Project Manager

The spread of COVID-19 has been a troubling welcome to the new decade. However, if there is a potential silver lining to recent events, it may be that this is a timely reminder of how as a species, we are all intrinsically linked. We breathe the same air, share the same ecosystem and inhabit the same fragile planet that is the one and only home to all known living creatures. The degree to which the spread of this virus has shaped our day-to-day lives perhaps highlights that, as humanity, we cannot take tomorrow for granted. A bright future is not a guarantee, but instead must be something that we strive for, by recognising the issues we collectively face, and putting in place the hard work and determination to do what is right for ourselves, those around us, and the generations yet to come.

Astroscale was founded on the ideal of working to address an environmental issue which similarly has the potential to affect us all – the accumulation of human-made debris in our orbital environment. As we have become more reliant on satellites for nearly every aspect of our daily lives, the orbits in which these resources reside have become increasingly contaminated and dangerous. In the past, the technologies necessary for removing orbital debris either did not exist, were not adequately supported, or were prohibitively expensive to implement. Although those challenges still remain, the technologies are improving to the level where real and positive progress toward sustainability can be achieved. Furthermore, there is a collective recognition among government legislators and private business leaders that a shift in policy is essential to solve this problem. We are collectively reaching the point where we can, almost literally, reach toward the stars and take the steps necessary to pursue a sustainable tomorrow.

Astroscale continues to firmly believe in this vision and has established teams across the globe to address this challenge. Our End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission, which is going through final testing in Japan, is on schedule to launch later this year. This will mark a huge first step forward, demonstrating unassisted rendezvous and docking of objects in space. In the UK, the Astroscale team has been working to evolve and further progress the technology from ELSA-d to develop commercially viable solutions to remove failed satellites and other orbital debris. Finally, Astroscale’s US office has been pursuing the solutions necessary to develop a market that can be a path to orbital environmental sustainability.

Together, our global Astroscale teams are working collaboratively to solve the technical, policy and business challenges of debris removal, and moving society toward the global goal of responsible use of the orbital environment. Although the next few months will continue to offer uncertainty as we find solutions for this global pandemic, Astroscale believes that great endeavours can be achieved through the vision, hard work, and application of the same spirit that has moved humankind forward over past millennia. Let’s continue to look toward space as a silver lining during challenging times, and resolve to do what is necessary to build a brighter tomorrow, by taking the steps that we can, today.