Connecting the Dots | Making light work of space junk removal

As inter-satellite laser links help fuel the rapid expansion of the largest constellations the world has ever seen, a traditional satellite operator wants to put stronger lasers to work clearing the debris that LEO megaconstellations risk leaving behind.
Sky Perfect JSAT, Japan’s flagship geostationary satellite operator, announced the creation of a startup in January that would use in-orbit lasers to stabilize tumbling space junk and put it on course to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The venture, Orbital Lasers, is developing spacecraft that would fire a laser at a defunct object, ablating material on the surface to generate thrust for changing its orientation and location.
The venture is led by Tadanori Fukushima, who joined Sky Perfect JSAT as an engineer nearly two decades ago. Sky Perfect JSAT has an undisclosed stake in Orbital Lasers alongside other unnamed shareholders.
The project began as an internal startup program in 2018 and counts Japanese ...

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