The Government Agency has announced a number of initiatives to counteract the growing problem. Two companies, Astroscale and ClearSpace, have been awarded funding to research a British-led mission to remove junk from space. UKSA will also partner with the US company Numerica Corporation, which will provide high quality space surveillance and tracking (SST).
They will also work with the United Nations Office on External Space (UNOOSA) to promote space sustainability.
Science Minister George Freeman said: “The growing reliance on satellites for a range of everyday supplies from SatNav to meteorology is making the space technology sector increasingly valuable to the UK economy.
“Our national space strategy sets out our vision for a thriving UK space sector that pushes the boundaries of innovation, including a specific commitment to take the lead in clearing space waste.
“These new projects will support our leading role in cleaning up our orbits, which have been neglected for far too long, and will help keep satellites in operation safely so that they can continue to provide vital services such as communications and climate change monitoring. “
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The plans were announced before Russia wiped out a satellite during a missile test, but will try to eradicate similar waste clouds.
It comes as experts warned that the anti-satellite test (ASAT) has added to the growing problem.
Russia confirmed earlier this week that it was conducting a missile test on an ancient space satellite.
The move saw astronauts and cosmonauts on the ISS put on high alert as fears rose that the space station could be hit.
Moscow’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that it had “successfully completed a test” aimed at a now defunct Russian satellite that had been in orbit since 1982.
The United States called the test “dangerous and irresponsible”, but Russia rejected the proposal.
At a briefing Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that “the Russian Federation recklessly conducted a destructive satellite test” which he said had generated more than 1,500 pieces of “traceable orbital waste”.
He added: “Russia’s dangerous and irresponsible behavior endangers the long – term sustainability of outer space and clearly demonstrates that Russia’s claims to oppose the creation of space weapons are inattentive and hypocritical.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson called the incident “unscrupulous” and added that the satellite fragments threaten the lives of all astronauts living and working in space.
He added: “With its long history in human spaceflight, it is inconceivable that Russia would endanger not only the US and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts.”
And space debris is said to be a growing problem.
According to NASA, there are more than 100 million pieces of space debris larger than a millimeter orbiting the Earth.
The U.S. Department of Defense has tracked more than 27,000 major pieces of orbital waste.
But even the smallest fragments can pose a threat to satellites and space stations.