Harpoons are the Newest, Old Idea for Dealing with Space Junk

Imagine a time when concerned citizens actually cheer for a harpoon as it thumps into its target. Sound unlikely? The use of harpoons could be one solution for clearing out the space junk floating around our planet. We’ve covered some other options with earlier posts.

Astrium has plans on the drawing board to use harpoons mounted on so-called “chaser satellites” to clean up Earth’s orbit. The chaser sats will have a regular orbital patrol and will seek out junk as it flies along. Continue reading

ATK Continues Development of Liberty Spacecraft

With the main responsibility for near-Earth space missions being delegated to the private sector, competition for contracts becomes important to drive innovation and lower costs. The SpaceX test launch to the International Space Station has been postponed till tomorrow and being aborted at the last second over the weekend. However, other companies are continuing to move forward with their own commercial rocket and/or spacecraft projects. Alliant Techsystems (ATK) is among them.

ATK is building a two-stage rocket, called Liberty, to launch satellites and crew alike into orbit. Rather than starting from zero, the company is working with a design that incorporates the solid fuel boosters from the U.S. space shuttle and the liquid fuel secondary booster from the European Ariane rocket system.

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