ESA’s proposed e.Deorbit mission plans to demonstrate the retrieval and disposal of a derelict satellite from low-Earth orbit. The mission needs to capture a massive, drifting object left in an uncertain state, which may well be tumbling rapidly. Several capture mechanisms are being studied in parallel – including casting a net.
Polish company SKA Polska won this new ESA Member State’s first competitive contract to design a prototype net gun that could be tested in microgravity on a parabolic flight. Wojtek Gołebiowski of SKA Polska brought it along to the Industry Days of ESA’s Clean Space initiative – tasked with safeguarding both terrestrial and orbital environments – in May 2016. The net gun is comparatively low power (because it was designed for weightlessness) but here he demonstrates how it works on some low-flying drones. Results from firing the net, which is multi-coloured to make it easier to track by cameras, are being used to sharpen the fidelity of software models of net behaviour.
ESA presents… Clean Space
ESA’s active debris removal mission: e.Deorbit (with annotations)
ESA’s active debris removal mission: e.Deorbit
NASA Announces Asteroid Grand Challenge
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