NorthStar and Astroscale Announce Partnership to Develop In-space Technology to Support Space Sustainability

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by KnowESG

NorthStar Earth & Space (NorthStar) and Astroscale announced a strategic partnership at the 2022 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris to support space sustainability by combining NorthStar's precise space-based resident space object tracking with Astroscale's enhanced spacecraft navigation and capture capability for on-orbit servicing.

Astroscale and NorthStar will use their respective know-how, expertise, and unique services to highlight their joint commitment to space sustainability under this collaboration. NorthStar and Astroscale will work together to show the advantages of combining precise In-Space Situational Awareness (ISSA) capabilities to support dependable on-orbit servicing in low Earth orbit.

NorthStar will deploy the first commercial Space Situational Awareness service in 2023, providing greater accuracy in detection, tracking, and coverage for all near-Earth orbital regimes. NorthStar's Space Information and Intelligence (Si2) services will help satellite operators manage their fleets more effectively, improve spaceflight safety, and maintain space sustainability.

Astroscale is developing End-of-Life Services, which were most recently tested during its ELSA-d mission, which magnetically captured its demonstration clientship in August 2021. 

The most recent ELSA-M servicer is in rapid development for a 2024 launch in collaboration with OneWeb, the UK Space Agency, and the European Space Agency. During a single mission, the cutting-edge ELSA-M servicer will capture and retire multiple client spacecraft. 

This collaboration will enhance specific ISSA services needed to support the Client spacecraft's tracking and capture and offer critical space-safety information about other space objects in orbit. Astroscale will make every effort to collaborate with NorthStar as a provider of SSA services for future Astroscale missions.

Stewart Bain, CEO & Founder of NorthStar Earth & Space, said: 

"NorthStar is proud to join forces with Astroscale as part of an essential community that is committed to advancing innovation and commercial services for space sustainability. Combining NorthStar’s space-based coverage with Astroscale’s impressive on-orbit servicing capabilities is a very powerful response to immediate challenges in all near-Earth orbits."

Nick Shave, Managing Director of Astroscale Ltd, said: 

"We’re delighted to announce this partnership with NorthStar to develop our in-space situational awareness technology and data. We see an opportunity to enhance our spacecraft servicer and client satellite navigation & tracking capability with support from Northstar’s Space Information and Intelligence Services. We’re keen to leverage our Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) and satellite capture expertise and advance our commercial on-orbit debris removal services with the benefit of both ground-derived and in-space data. This is a great partnership that we look forward to harnessing with our forthcoming ELSA-M mission to clean up space and protect our orbital environment for future generations.”

Source: Astroscale

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