Space Ant

Since the launch of the first satellite in 1957, the number of orbital objects has skyrocketed. Today, around 7 500 satellites are operating at altitudes below 2 000 km – the upper limit for low-Earth orbit (LEO). More than a third of those were launched in the past two years, and there are many more to come. Proposed launches by private companies such as SpaceX and Amazon would swell the number of satellites in LEO by more than 45 000.

But satellites represent only a small fraction of the objects whirling around our planet. Orbital debris, or “space junk”, is becoming an increasingly urgent problem. NASA is tracking 27 000 pieces of orbital debris larger than a tennis ball, from discarded launch vehicles and parts of old spacecraft to tools and jettisoned bags of garbage. Added to those are an estimated one million pieces of debris larger than a marble, and a further 330 million between 1 mm and 1 cm in size. All these objects are travelling at 25 000 km/h, or 7 km/s. At that speed, even tiny pieces of debris can do a significant amount of damage.

Despite promising technology demonstrations, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the growing problem of taking out the orbital trash.

After so many decades of the buildup of high-speed clutter in the form of spent rocket stages, stray bolts and paint chips, solid-rocket-motor slag, dead or dying satellites and the scattered fragments from antisatellite tests—all of which could individually damage or destroy other assets—low-Earth orbit is finally on the verge of becoming too crowded for comfort. And the problem is now poised to get much worse because of the rise of satellite “mega constellations” requiring thousands of spacecraft, such as SpaceX’s Starlink, a broadband Internet network. Starlink is but one of many similar projects: Another mega constellation from a company called OneWeb is already being deployed. And Amazon’s Project Kuiper is seeking to create a mega constellation of up to 3,200 satellites in the near future.

As the congestion has grown, so too have close calls between orbiting assets. The International Space Station, for instance, regularly tweaks its orbit to avoid potentially hazardous debris. Worse yet, there has been an uptick in the threat of full-on collisions that generate menacing refuse that exacerbates the already bad situation. Consider the February 2009 run-in between a dead Russian Cosmos satellite and a commercial Iridium spacecraft, which produced an enormous amount of debris.

This image shows the results of a lab test impact between a small sphere of aluminum travelling at approximately 6.8 km/second and a block of aluminum 18 cm thick. This test simulates what can happen when a small space debris object hits a spacecraft.

✧ Al sphere diameter: 1.2cm
✧ Al sphere mass: about 1.7 g
✧ Impact crater diameter: 9.0 cm
✧ Impact crater depth: 5.3 cm

In such an impact, the pressure and temperature can exceed those found at the center of the Earth, e.g. greater than 365 GPa and more than 6000 K.


what we offer


Finding ways to remove at least some of all that space junk is slowly but steadily becoming a top global priority. There is no shortage of Space debris cleaning technologies offered by several companies from different countries.

Regardless of the propulsion systems those space junk removing spacecrafts utilize, no matter how advanced, they are all restricted by the amount of fuel available on board. The specific impulse of their engines is proportional to the quantity of fuel. 

Astrodrive is an electromagnetic spacetime continuum propulsion system with unlimited specific impulse and fuel reserves. For as long as there is electric power on board, the spacecraft will be able to perform its duties.