ClearSpace One

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ClearSpace One, formerly CleanSpace One is a technology demonstration satellite first developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL). It is intended to test technologies for rendezvous, capture, and deorbit for end of life satellites and space junk.[1] Destructive reentry will destroy both the captured satellites and itself.[2]

EPFL designs[edit]

The initial design included a claw for grabbing satellites.[3] However, after collaboration with students from the University of Applied Science in Geneva, the engineers concluded that a net that collapses onto satellites was the most agile and reliable collection system.[4]

To accomplish visual recognition of the satellites, the organization plans to use cameras with a high dynamic range (to deal with a high range of reflectivities) and process images in real time.[5]

A later design used a collapsible net that aligns and then collapses onto a satellite to demonstrate the concept.[6] The spacecraft is expected to collect SwissCube satellites that have expended their useful lifespan.[citation needed]

Spinoff and ESA mission[edit]

EPFL spun off a private company called ClearSpace. In 2019, this company won a competition for a European Space Agency Space Safety program contract in the Active Debris Removal/In-Orbit Servicing (ADRIOS) project. It will target the Vega Secondary Payload Adapter from 2013 Vega flight VV02 for de-orbiting.[7]


  1. ^ Coxworth, Ben (7 July 2015). "EPFL's CleanSpace One satellite will "eat" space junk". Gizmag. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  2. ^ Volpe, Joseph (16 February 2012). "EPFL's CleanSpace One: clearing up cosmic clutter (video)". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  3. ^ Starr, Michelle (7 July 2015). "Playing Pac-Man with space junk". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  4. ^ "A giant Pac-Man to gobble up space debris". 6 July 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  5. ^ Pittman, Kagan (7 July 2015). "Pac-Man Inspires Engineering Solution to Clean up Space Debris". Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  6. ^ Wenz, John (6 July 2015). "The EPFL's Pac-Man Bot Can Snap Up Tiny Satellites". Popular Mechanics. Hearst Communications. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  7. ^ ESA commissions world’s first space debris removal

External links[edit]