e.Deorbit

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e.Deorbit
Mission type Active debris removal
Operator ESA
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass 1,600 kilograms (3,500 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 2023
Rocket Vega
Launch site ELA-1, Guiana Space Centre
Contractor Arianespace
End of mission
Disposal Deorbit
Capture of derelict satellite
Clean Space

e.Deorbit is a planned European Space Agency active space debris removal mission developed as a part of their Clean Space initiative.[1][2] The launch is planned for 2023 on board a Vega launch vehicle.[3][4]

Overview[edit]

A 1,600-kilogram (3,500 lb) spacecraft will be launched on board a Vega rocket into a polar orbit at an altitude of 800–1,000 kilometres (500–620 mi). Once on orbit, the spacecraft will rendezvous with a derelict satellite in an unknown condition, inoperative, and probably tumbling.[2]

Capture will be conducted in one of two ways: either by using mechanical tentacles or nets. The tentacles option includes equipping the spacecraft with robotic arms, one of which will first capture a holding point, before the remaining arms embrace the derelict and secure it with a clamping mechanism. The net option includes equipping the spacecraft with a deployable net on a tether, that will envelope the target derelict before the spacecraft will begin changing orbit.[5]:13,24,25 The net option has the advantage of being able to capture objects with a wide range of sizes and spins.[6]

After successfully capturing the targeted derelict, the spacecraft will deorbit itself by performing a controlled atmospheric reentry.[3]

History[edit]

The mission was developed at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility, with studies for the Clean Space programme on de-orbiting techniques being carried out in 2009.[3][7] The first symposium about the mission took place in May 2014.[1] Early testing included successful attempts at capturing scale model satellites by shooting nets from compressed air ejectors.[6] The first design stage was completed in June 2015, with a systems requirements review being conducted in May–June 2016 and a final mission approval taking place in December 2016.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "e.Deorbit Symposium". ESA. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Space fishing: ESA floats plan to net space junk". Gizmag. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "ESA heading towards removing space debris". ESA. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "E.DEORBIT Mission". ESA. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  5. ^ Robin Biesbroek (22 May 2013). "The e.Deorbit CDF Study" (PDF). Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Rick Pantaleo (23 March 2015). "Fishing in Outer Space for Bigger Junk". Voice of America. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Clean Space". ESA, Concurrent Design Facility. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 

External links[edit]