The latest space mining startup from China released a robot prototype capable of collecting space junk and debris left by previous spacecrafts via a net and released into low-Earth orbit to do so.
This is the most recent attempt by China to increase its efforts to minimize the gap between itself in comparison to Russian and the U.S. and be a contender to be a big space power.
Collecting junk in low-Earth orbit
Named the NEO-01, it will also venture into deep space to catch a glimpse of tiny celestial bodies. It was released on 6th March with multiple satellites based on the news by a state-run Xinhua agency. The startup Origin Space, located in Shenzhen, created this 30kg (66lbs) robot. It plans to create a new path of technology possibility able to mine elements on asteroids.
The first asteroid mining Planetary Resources company came into being in 2009-since. Multiple companies have initiated their work in the space-junk cleaning industry, namely Astroscale by Japan and 3D Systems by the USA, to name a few. Astroscale uses magnets to collect space junk, but NEO-01 will utilize a seemingly simple-sounding net to collect junk and burn the debris using an electric propulsion system, based on a Channel News Asia report.
From the late 1950s, countless satellites have been released into low-Earth orbit. But as time passes, they age and become defunct, resulting in becoming part of a very threatening bulk of space debris that can harm or ruin current operating satellites or crewed missions. Origin Space plans to release many space telescopes and spacecrafts-to manage the pioneer commercial mining operation on asteroids till the year 2045, based on a 26th April interview by U.S. media with the company’s founder, Su Meng.