8 November 2023
by Sarah Morgan

Funding to remove space junk

£2mln of funding is available to fund research into refuelling an upcoming mission to remove space junk, from The UK Space Agency.

© Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The mission could help prolong the life of satellites and prevent adding more debris to the space environment.

The £2mln is available for feasibility studies that can demonstrate the ability to refuel a UK national debris removal mission and look at opportunities for refuelling a commercial satellite.

Millions of defunct space objects are currently orbiting the planet – almost 37,000 measuring larger than 10cm and an estimated 130 million measuring less than 1 cm.  Their speed means they are a constant threat to ‘live’ satellites. 

The UK Space Agency is inviting bids from UK organisations to support the mission and the development of future capabilities.   

George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, says, ‘Millions of pieces of space debris and 3,000 redundant satellites pose an increasing threat to the satellite economy we now rely on daily – from telecomms to navigation, air traffic control and climate science. So it is vital that we act.’

Further details on the refuelling study call can be found online.