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Gallery: Space Junk Cleanup by CleanSpace One Satellite

CleanSpace One

2015 EPFL/Jamani Caillet

CleanSpace One closes in on a CubeSat.

Space Debris 'Pac-Man' Solution

2015 EPFL/Jamani Caillet

An approach and capture system – a so-called “Pac-Man” solution.

SwissCube-1

EPFL

SwissCube-1.

CleanSpace One Satellite Chases Its Target

EPFL/Swiss Space Center

CleanSpace One is chasing its target, one of the CubeSats launched by Switzerland in 2009 (Swisscube-1) or 2010 (TIsat-1). Image released Feb. 15, 2012.

CleanSpace One's Gripping Mechanism

EPFL

Just before reaching its target, CleanSpace One unfolds its bio-inspired gripping mechanism.

CleanSpace One Attached to Space Debris

EPFL/Swiss Space Center

Firmly attached to the debris, CleanSpace One will now power on its engines in order to reach the Earth atmosphere. Both satellites will be burnt during their descent. Image released Feb. 15, 2012.

CleanSpace One Infographic

Pascal Coderay/EPFL

CleanSpace One will remove space debris.

Space Junk in Orbit

ESA

This graphic depicts the trackable objects, satellites and space junk, in orbit around Earth.

Space Junk Problem Detailed

NASA/Orbital Debris Program Office.

Each dot represents a bit of known space junk that's at least 4 inches (10 cm) in low-Earth orbit, where the space station and shuttles roam. In total, some 19,000 manmade objects this size or bigger orbit Earth as of July 2009; most are in low-Earth orbit. Countless smaller objects are also circling the planet.

Illustration of a Space Debris Field

Space Junk 3D, LLC

Illustration of a space debris field as depicted in the film "Space Junk 3D."

Iridium/Cosmos Satellite Collision

AGI

The Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 communications satellites collided over northern Siberia. The impact between the Iridium Satellite and the 16-year-old satellite launched by the Russian government occurred in February 2009.

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