Hello fellow space nerds!
Fishing in space may sound absurd to some people, but to the many scientists who work at ESA and NASA, it is a necessity. The basic idea is to “fish” for broken satellites or just space “junk” in general. After years of sending satellites and various rockets into space, lots of old stages and broken parts have accumulated in orbit around our planet. This orbiting space junk potentially poses quite a threat to any craft attempting to achieve orbit, as the debris is moving at several kilometers per second. Even small objects at such a high velocity are able to rip spacecraft to shreds, and this becomes a much more serious issue if there is crew on board.
This is why ESA have recently preformed several tests of a net that they are currently developing. The net is meant to aid in the retrieval of this debris, and has already had its use demonstrated on preliminary tests. Using a plane on a parabolic flight path, the scientists could simulate micro-gravity, and therefore test the effectiveness of the net in these situations.
The results obtained by the team were extremely positive, the net appeared to function exactly as was planned. The net had weights on each corner in order to help it entirely capture the piece of debris. The design worked so well in fact, that the team often had to cut the net before they could re-pack and launch it again. Here is a link to a video of the tests!
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-The SpaceBunker team