FOCUS: Scrap spacecraft the next frontier of metals recycling

Space debris is poised to be the next frontier of recycling even while more companies attempt to make low Earth orbit safer for space industrial ecosystems.

Space scrap will feed these industrial ecosystems and act as the raw material feedstock for any advanced space manufacturing systems, such as 3D printing, Airbus’ in-space manufacturing and assembly roadmap owner Christophe Figus told Fastmarkets this week.
"There are lots of old spacecraft in outer space now, and there are different ongoing programs to collect them and break them down into components ready for recycling," Figus said.
This is especially prevalent in low Earth orbit, where there are millions of pieces of space scrap flying at up to 29,000 kilometers per hour, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States.

The orbital graveyard is estimated to contain 6,000 tonnes of scrap materials, caused about...

Published

Paul Lim

April 23, 2021

04:27 GMT

Singapore