More Junk obstructed an attempt to clean up space junk.

More Junk Obstructed An Attempt To Clean Up Space Junk

Space junk is a serious problem, a point which NASA has been stressing of late. The European Space Agency’s mission,experimental mission, Clearspace-1, which aimed to remove a significant piece of debris in space, experienced a major setback due to this junk and so its plans went awry.

The object they wanted to remove was a rocket adapter called VESPA, which had been floating in low Earth orbit for ten years. The plan involved using a four-armed craft, resembling an arcade’s claw machine, to approach the adapter, grasp the debris, and safely transport it back to Earth.

However, fate unexpectedly changed the course of events.

A random piece of space junk has hit the adapter, causing further space debris and preventing the ESA from removing the 250 pound VESPA in one piece. This unfortunate event highlights the dangers of the cluttered space orbit.
Photo of PROBA-V on top of the VESPA system on April 15, 2013

The US Space Force delivered the unfortunate news to the ESA on August 10th that they had discovered more objects near the area that needs to be cleaned up.

According to the European Space Agency, while the collision itself was not witnessed, there is strong evidence suggesting that a small, untracked object collided with the adapter, causing it to break and scatter small fragments.

However, there is still hope as further observations have shown that the adapter is mostly undamaged and its orbit has not been greatly affected. Additionally, the fragments of the adapter do not seem to pose any danger to other spacecraft in orbit plus, there will be ample time for adaptation before Clearspace-1 is launched in 2026.

This recent “fragmentation event” perfectly demonstrates the woes created by ignoring the space junk in orbit.

Reference- NASA PR, ESA website & PR, Futurism, eoPortal, New Atlas, Science Magazine