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Professor Hugh Lewis sitting on the front bench of a lecture theatre as he consults his laptop. A graphic of satellites orbiting Earth is projected on the screen behind him.

Sustainability at astronomical levels

Published: 21 November 2022

The partnership investigated the effectiveness of active debris removal strategies using a space debris model developed by Professor Hugh Lewis at the University.

Astroscale has now launched the world’s first commercial mission to test its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration (ELSA-d) technology, which aims to remove obsolete satellites from orbit.

Over the next decade, an increase in the number of large satellite constellations being launched into low-Earth orbit will add thousands of satellites into space, increasing the likelihood of collision and posing a risk to the sustainability of the orbital environment.

In the results, we saw that there were several opportunities for debris removal to reduce the risks associated with large constellations. These are really encouraging findings that will hopefully contribute to efforts to achieve safe and sustainable use of the near-Earth orbital environment.

Hugh Lewis - Professor of Astronautics