“NEO-01” – Chinese robot prototype to clear space debris

What is the News?

The Chinese government has launched a robot prototype named ‘NEO-01’ in the Low Earth Orbit through its Long March 6 rocket.

About ‘NEO-01’:
  • NEO-01 is a robot prototype developed by China-based space mining start-up ‘Origin Space’.
  • Aim: The aim is to observe small celestial bodies in deep space and to experiment with a novel approach to clearing up space debris.
  • Method to remove space debris: NEO-01 will use a large net to capture debris left behind by other spacecraft. After collection, it will burn them using its electric propulsion system.
    • Electric Propulsion(EP) is a class of space propulsion. This propulsion will make use of electrical power to accelerate a propellant. These technologies generate electrical energy either from a solar source or from a nuclear source.
What is Space Debris?
  • Firstly, space debris is any piece of machinery or debris left by humans in space.
  • Secondly, it can refer to big objects such as dead satellites that have failed or been left in orbit at the end of their mission. It can also refer to smaller things, like bits of debris or paint flecks that have fallen off from a rocket.
  • Thirdly, space debris is a threat to active satellites and spaceships as they pose the risk of collisions.

Source: The Hindu

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