Russia cleans up space with orbital pod

Russia has announced its intention to spend nearly $2 billion on a space clean-up programme which will remove debris that is orbiting the earth.

The programme, which will be launched by Energia, the Rocket and Space Corporation of Russia, will see 60 billion rubles ($1.9 billion) spent on building and launching an orbital pod which will sweep up broken pieces from satellites and other junk that is circling the earth.

The pod will take up to ten years to construct, with a test date expected between 2020 and 2023. It will then take ten years to clean up a large section of the debris, some of which numbers as many as 600 defunct satellites.

The pod will be nuclear-powered, with a life expectancy of around 15 years, giving it plenty of time to clean up some of the other items we launched into space and just left there. They might even find Eutelsat’s W3B satellite, which they lost after launch last month.

Energia is also working on a “space interceptor” to destroy dangerous objects heading towards earth, such as comets and meteors.