Yesterday, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales visited Astroscale’s ELSA-d Mission Control Centre to witness their vision for the safe and sustainable development of space for the benefit of future generations. This is an essential visit to help leaders see the space environment as an extension of the Earth environment. Monitoring satellites and space infrastructure is critical to help climate change and protect the space environment for future generations. In advancing the technology to remove space debris, Astroscale are creating other commercial opportunities that will only strengthen the UK’s global position in the space sector, provide further opportunities to lead on space sustainability and could over time contribute towards Net Zero Space.
Astroscale launched the first end-to-end demonstration mission to remove debris from space in March 2021. The ELSA-d mission, designed to test the technology and capabilities needed to remove a defunct satellite from space, is operated in the UK from the National In-Orbit Servicing Control Centre – a specialist facility developed by Astroscale in partnership with the Satellite Applications Catapult and funded by UK Research & Innovation.
The long-term sustainable health of the space sector is becoming ever more important, with tens of thousands of satellite launches planned in the coming years. His Royal Highness is right to acknowledge that space debris mitigation and removal will become imperative to ensure the industry remains safe and sustainable. I am thrilled that our portfolio company Astroscale has been recognised by Prince Charles, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and The UK Space Agency for its transformational capability to offer in-orbit services to inspect, transport, remove, and extend the life of satellites in space, and to provide assurance and continuation of satellite service for customers.