NASA Space Junk Cleanup : NASA is collaborating with TransAstra, a US space logistics company, to address the issue of space debris in Earth’s lower orbit. Broken satellites, rocket stages, and mission parts are accumulating in space. This increases the chances of space missions encountering debris. NASA awarded TransAstra a $850,000 deal for the Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research program. The company aims to create plastic bags that catch space junk and safely return it to Earth. NASA’s work on the Asteroid Redirect Mission led to the inflatable bag technology. NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program funded TransAstra to develop catch bags. These bags come in various sizes and shapes to catch space debris, including broken satellites and rocket bodies. Once the debris is in the bag, its inflatable ribs will tightly close, keeping it inside.
The next step is to send the spaceship with inflatable bags into Earth’s lower orbit. The bag seals when the inflatable legs fill it with air. The spacecraft can collect and dispose of trash in various parts of Earth’s orbit using the inflatable bag. Once the bag is full, the spaceship will use special propulsion to return to Earth’s atmosphere.There are many things that could be improved with the plan. TransAstra’s CEO, Joel Sercel, states that space junk must be captured at a matching speed due to its constant movement. The process involves opening the bag, wrapping it around the trash, and closing it. The task needs many resources, making fuel conservation difficult. The inflatable bag aims to collect maximum trash with minimal fuel usage.
The NASA and TransAstra relationship is in testing, but it could help solve the space junk problem. Space is littered with human-made trash and must be cleaned up promptly. If space missions collide with trash, it could hinder their progress and satellite functionality. NASA’s collaboration with TransAstra to develop flexible bags for capturing space junk may prove beneficial as debris accumulates.
If successful, this project could reduce space trash, making future trips safer and more sustainable. Despite ongoing issues, new ideas and collaboration between government agencies and private companies offer hope for a cleaner and safer space environment.As the partnership progresses, observers and space fans eagerly await the results of inflatable bag technology testing and potential use. The effort highlights the importance of finding new ways to address space debris problems and working with technology to shape the future of space exploration and preservation.