EX-Fusion Plans Space Junk Removing Fusion Laser

Space junk, consisting of discarded rocket parts and decommissioned satellites, is proliferating as more satellites are launched into orbit and space exploration intensifies. This growing problem poses a significant threat to both current and future space operations and needs urgent resolution. Various solutions have been proposed, including a “cowboy style” removal using a large harpoon, though most require operations to be conducted in space.

EX-Fusion Plans Space Junk Removing Fusion Laser

However, EX-Fusion, a Japanese startup, is exploring a more grounded approach. Originally developed for laser fusion power, the company’s laser technology is now being adapted for space debris management. Last year, EX-Fusion officially partnered with Australia’s EOS Space Systems, which specializes in space debris detection.

The plan is structured in two phases: The first phase involves setting up laser technology to track space junk measuring 10 cm or less. The second phase will focus on enhancing the power of laser beams fired from Earth’s surface. While the concept of shooting lasers into space may conjure images of a real-life Death Star, this technology is non-weapon grade and aims solely at debris removal.

The operating principle is straightforward: intermittently fire a laser at debris in the opposite direction of its travel to reduce its speed. By decreasing the orbital velocity, the debris will lose its orbit, re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and burn up, effectively letting the natural incinerator of the atmosphere do the work.

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To learn more about this innovative approach to tackling space debris, you can refer to a detailed report by Nikkei or visit EOS Space Systems’ page on space sustainability.

Images: EOS Space Systems.