Session

Technical Session VII: Student Competition

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

The current space debris situation is distressing and becomes even worse with the launch of many new satellites and the emerging trend of mega-constellations. While efforts are made to implement a mechanism for deorbiting into newly launched satellites, these mechanisms can fail and old satellites may not even have it. By collision of these large objects, many new smaller objects are generated which in turn may generate new collisions. This effect known as the Kessler syndrome will lead to an endangering of all future spaceflight if no solution is found. The DEBRIS project wants to deorbit large objects from LEO to remove their collision risk. As conventional propulsion is expensive for the deorbit of many objects, drag sails and electrodynamic tethers to harvest the necessary energy in orbit. An additional reduction of fuel consumption is achieved by a special near-approach flight strategy. To ensure a versatile and reliant capturing while preserving low mass a novel capturing mechanism is proposed. Using these techniques, the DEBRIS probe can be designed as a small satellite. This allows for a great reduction of mass, volume, and thus costs, making the removal of many large objects affordable.

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Aug 1st, 12:00 AM

DEBRIS - A Small Satellite Approach to Active Debris Removal

Utah State University, Logan, UT

The current space debris situation is distressing and becomes even worse with the launch of many new satellites and the emerging trend of mega-constellations. While efforts are made to implement a mechanism for deorbiting into newly launched satellites, these mechanisms can fail and old satellites may not even have it. By collision of these large objects, many new smaller objects are generated which in turn may generate new collisions. This effect known as the Kessler syndrome will lead to an endangering of all future spaceflight if no solution is found. The DEBRIS project wants to deorbit large objects from LEO to remove their collision risk. As conventional propulsion is expensive for the deorbit of many objects, drag sails and electrodynamic tethers to harvest the necessary energy in orbit. An additional reduction of fuel consumption is achieved by a special near-approach flight strategy. To ensure a versatile and reliant capturing while preserving low mass a novel capturing mechanism is proposed. Using these techniques, the DEBRIS probe can be designed as a small satellite. This allows for a great reduction of mass, volume, and thus costs, making the removal of many large objects affordable.