ESA partners with startup to launch first debris removal mission in 2025

The recent fall to Earth of a massive Chinese rocket has renewed concerns about the perils of space junk and one project from the European Space Agency might be able to help.

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced plans to launch a space debris removal mission in 2025 with the help of a Swiss start-up called ClearSpace. The mission, dubbed ClearSpace-1, will use an experimental, four-armed robot to capture a Vega Secondary Payload Adapter (Vespa) left behind by ESA’s Vega launcher in 2013. The piece of space junk is located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth and weighs roughly 220 lbs. (100 kilograms). 

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