The target is fragmented. The ClearSpace-1 mission, scheduled to launch in 2026 to clean up specific space junk, recently discovered that its cleanup target was hit by other space junk, breaking up and creating more debris.
In 2013, the European Vega VV02 rocket sent Proba-V, VNREDSat-1, ESTCube-1 and other satellites into Earth orbit, but a payload adapter called VESPA (Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment) was also left in orbit as a Space junk begins a 10-year drifting journey.
With the increasing frequency of rocket launches, debris left behind in Earth orbit after launches has accumulated year after year, threatening satellites that are running ghostly. In order to “clean up” space junk, the European Space Agency decided to send the ClearSpace-1 mission To test such a technique, clearing the object locks the disabled conical VESPA payload.
ClearSpace-1 is a claw-shaped aircraft that was originally intended to grab VESPA and throw it back into the atmosphere to burn it up. It is planned to launch and rendezvous with VESPA in 2026.
On Aug. 10, however, the U.S. 18th Space Defense Squadron spotted new debris near the VESPA adapter, suggesting that the object had recently been hit by another piece of space debris, breaking it into more pieces.
The European Space Agency stated that the ClearSpace-1 mission development will still proceed as planned, but they are assessing what may happen next and collecting more data on the event. At present, the orbit of VESPA has not changed much.