Swiss startup is approaching the first-ever collection of space junk

The first active space debris removal has moved closer to launch after a new deal was signed for the historic mission.

Swiss startup Free space and French missile giant Arianespace announced today that a launch contract has been signed for the assignment.

The mission, called ClearSpace-1, aims to capture a piece of debris weighing more than 100 kg and remove it from orbit. To begin with, the garbage-collecting spacecraft will be released into sun-synchronous orbit by the new European light launcher Vega C.

After commissioning and critical testing, the spacecraft will be delivered to the intended nest, which will be removed through reentry.

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The launch is not scheduled until the second half of 2026.

Artist's impression of Vega C launching ClearSpace-1