According to a September 16, 2013 story in Gizmag, the Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Swiss Space Systems (S3) have formed a partnership to address the vexing problem of space junk. EPFL is developing a vehicle called “Clean Space One” while S3 is creating the means to launch it in a cost effective manner.
The way the system is designed to work is that an A300 jetliner would take a suborbital vehicle called Suborbital Reusable Shuttle (SOAR) to cruising altitude. SOAR would be released and light its engines. When the shuttle arrives at 70 kilometers above the Earth it would release Clean Space One, which would move to low Earth orbit. Clean Space One would rendezvous with a dead satellite, grapple it, and then take it into a death plunge into the atmosphere to safely burn up. The A300 and the SOAR would be reusable. The first test of the system is scheduled to take place in 2018.
The A300/SOAR system is similar to the Virgin Galactic White Knight Two/SpaceShip Two system that is designed to take paying tourists on suborbital jaunts. There is also an idea of using the system, like the Swiss vehicles, to launch small satellites into low Earth orbit. A company called Stratolaunch is developing a plane launched rocket as well.