ClearSpace drone recognized among best inventions

ClearSpace from the canton of Vaud has developed a drone with robotic grippers to remove space debris. TIME magazine has named it one of the 200 best inventions of 2023. ClearSpace already has contracts with the British and European space agencies UKSA and ESA.

The space drone from ClearSpace is one of the 200 best inventions of the year for "TIME". Image credit: ClearSpace
The space drone from ClearSpace is one of the 200 best inventions of the year for "TIME". Image credit: ClearSpace

The startup ClearSpace is becoming a pioneer in the removal of debris from space missions, old satellites and rocket capsules in space. According to the Renens-based company, it already has contracts with the UK and European Space Agency ESA. For the ClearSpace-1 mission, scheduled for launch in 2026, ClearSpace has developed a type of drone with robotic grippers that will be sent into orbit to capture debris. As soon as it has picked up its transport, it slows its orbital speed, plunges into the planet's atmosphere and burns up along with the debris.

“The solution is actually quite straightforward,” explains Luc Piguet, co-founder and CEO of ClearSpace in an article in “TIME” magazine. “Like for highways, you need a tow truck.” The magazine lists ClearSpace’s development among the 200 best inventions of 2023 in the Robotics category under the key word Space Custodian.

The UK Space Agency website talks about "revolutionizing space missions”.  ClearSpace has been selected to develop an Active Debris Removal Mission that can remove dangerous objects from space. ClearSpace was founded in 2018. With dynamic engineering teams at locations in Switzerland, the UK, Germany, Luxembourg and the USA, it develops technologies that cover the entire spectrum of in-orbit services. From in-orbit disposal and transport to inspection, assembly, manufacturing, repair and recycling, ClearSpace aims to bring about a new era of sustainable space activities and promote a circular economy in space. 

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