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Is it possible to remove the space junk having orbital velocity with the help of a skyhook?

Has any country in the world planned to place a skyhook in orbit?

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    $\begingroup$ Could you please specify, what you mean by 'skyhook'? There are plenty of concepts and ideas, which use this name. $\endgroup$ – s-m-e Aug 15 '13 at 16:46
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There is the ElectroDynamic Debris Eliminator (EDDE) notion that seems to be pretty serious. Not clear if they have realistic funding or not.

This is basically a multisegmented tether that using solar panels along its length for energy generation, rotates and grabs debris in a net at the end to then deorbit.

A key design feature is that if it gets severed the remaining elements can continue to operate as two smaller EDDE vehicles.

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    $\begingroup$ fascinating idea; I wish there as a bit more information about the simulation available. In particular watching it I'm wondering about the selection criteria for within a particular inclination range; since while they generally seem to prefer lower objects first some are skipped for a while and my initial guess of lowest to highest mass (to clear the most objects in the least time) doesn't appear to be right. $\endgroup$ – Dan Neely Aug 13 '13 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ I'm skeptical about them having realistic funding though. Orbital debris is a classic tragedy of the commons problem; and until cleaning the mess up becomes more expensive than insuring their satellites all the private operators will probably wait and hope someone else pays for it. Meanwhile the govts are all broke and can't afford it. $\endgroup$ – Dan Neely Aug 13 '13 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ I've always understood the skyhook term to refer to long tethers rotating in orbit with one end dipping into the upper atmosphere; and don't think these tethers really fit that definition. $\endgroup$ – Dan Neely Aug 13 '13 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DanNeely Possibly. It is however a large rotating tether, in orbit, so pretty close. Seems like a true skyhook, by your approach would be tricky to actually capture items. This approach moves the tether to capture it. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Aug 13 '13 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ Do they say it's rotating somewhere else on the site? The normal concept for an electrodynamic tether is to stay straight up and down to maximize the difference in electric potential between the top and bottom ends of the tether to get the most acceleration. Spinning would mean the tether was generally oriented sub optimally. $\endgroup$ – Dan Neely Aug 13 '13 at 17:29
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Astrium is working on a space harpoon capture system. They have been awarded a study contract by the French space agency CNES to develop space vehicles that can remove large items of debris from Earth's orbit. Their idea is to develop a pneumatic space harpoon that a spacecraft would fire into larger space debris targets and use tether to drag them out of orbit and into the atmosphere:

   enter image description here

The harpoon design is trying to minimize secondary debris from puncturing the target's body. It has a set of barbs, a shock absorber section that is the wide part in the photograph above and releases the barbs into open, hook-like position after impact, and a shaft that is inserted into the pneumatic gun that holds the tether with which the target is later towed by into the atmosphere.

More information and references:

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