Faced with the increase in the amount of debris from old spacecraft and satellites orbitinf our planet, the Australian firm Neumann Space, along with three other companies, has launched an ambitious joint project that seeks to reduce the amount of space debris, by recycling it and converting it into rocket fuel, as per reports from the Guardian
To achieve this goal, the company has partnered with the Japanese startup Astroscale, which has previously demonstrated the feasibility of using satellites to collect garbage in space, with the American company Nanorocks, which is responsible for developing technology to store and cut waste.
In orbit, as well as with Cislunar, which works on a foundry-based system to create metal rods.
As explained by the executive director of Neuman Space, Herve Astier, the propulsion device they have developed can use these rods as fuel; “The system ionizes the metal that creates thrust to move objects in orbit,” he explained.
Currently, efforts to solve the problem of space debris are focused on collecting it and taking it into the atmosphere to be burned; however, the consortium’s approach aims to take advantage of the waste without the need to transport it.
“It will be like developing a gas station in space,” Astier said. As per experts, due to the high speeds at which satellites orbit, close to the 28,000 kilometers per hour, a small screw or a speck of paint could cause great damage to the International Space Station, posing a great risk to astronauts and communication systems in general.