ESA and its active debris removal business startup, ClearSpace SA, fight the good fight

by Peter B. de Selding

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PARIS — Trying to kickstart a sustainable commercial business in active space-debris removal is among the riskiest programs ever undertaken by the European Space Agency (ESA). It’s no wonder ESA had to cede a lot of ground between the original idea and the final contract.

But despite multiple delays, ESA and ClearSpace SA of Switzerland have signed a contract valued at 86 million euros ($96.3 million) for a ClearSpace-1 mission to launch in 2025.

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