Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Jah Comments on Astroscale’s Successful Demonstration

Professor Moriba Jah was quoted in Smithsonian article on the first successful test of an orbital debris removal technology. Professor Jah is an Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT Austin and Lead of the Strauss Center’s Space Security, Safety, and Sustainability Program. The article discusses the recent successful test of Astroscale Inc.’s debris removal technology, ELSA, which stands for End of Life Services by Astroscale. This test is a step towards ELSA’s ultimate mission scheduled in 2024 when it will remove a defunct satellite from low earth orbit in an effort to reduce the dangerous congestion of this valuable orbital real estate. Dr. Jah expressed optimism about the success of the demonstration and noted that it is a small but significant first step towards combatting the issue of space debris.

Dr. Jah also underscored that a problem moving forward will be identifying a solid business case for orbital debris removal, as states are not presently obligated to clean up their orbital waste. He emphasized the importance of defining and quantifying space objects “space traffic footprints” in order to better understand the hazard posed by derelict objects. The article also noted Dr. Jah’s belief that public support for debris mitigation efforts can help nudge public policy towards the long-term reduction of space pollution. Read the full article here.