Skip to comments.Swiss Satellite to Clean Up Space Debris
Posted on 02/15/2012 9:59:52 AM PST by JerseyanExile
The Swiss Space Center at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanna, or EPFL, announced Wednesday that it is planning to launch a satellite to remove debris from low-Earth orbit. The 11-million USD satellite, named CleanSpace One, is intended to actively intercept and deorbit defunct satellites that contribute to the growing cloud of LEO debris as they disintegrate and collide with one another.
It has become essential to be aware of the existence of [space] debris and the risks that are run by its proliferation, said Claude Nicollier, astronaut and EPFL professor. Volker Gass, the director of the Swiss Space Center, said it hopes to offer and sell a whole family of ready-made systems, designed as sustainably as possible, that are able to de-orbit several different kinds of satellites.
EPFL has stated that the first CleanSpace One satellite would be launched within three to five years. The target mission would be to intercept two Swiss satellites, launched in 2009 and 2010.
There are several technical challenges the program will need to overcome before the satellite can be launched, the first of which is the requirement for the small satellite to perform precise adjustments of its trajectory to intercept its target. Swiss engineers are already investigating new technologies for ultra-compact space-capable motors. They are also trying to overcome the difficulties associated with grappling the satellites and deorbiting them such that they disintegrate in the upper atmosphere.
(Excerpt) Read more at spacesafetymagazine.com ...
Good Scifi on space trash.. no not Quark !
Good idea, but probably too complicated. It will take a ton of fuel to do the maneuvers required to do multiple intercepts.
Might be a better idea to do a cheaper system with several ‘parasite’ units launched all at once. Each one targets a single dead bird, latches on (I’m picturing use of a super-sticky surface, but that’s a little nutty), then does a modest burn that decays the orbit slowly... requiring less fuel and less complexity.
After they succeed in developing this technology for honing in on fast moving space debris, it may take just a few more years to enhance the capabilities so they can keep up with Romney's ever-changing political trajectories.
Unfortunately, not in time for this election cycle.
I can’t believe somebody else remembers the space garbage scow show!... I loved that, but alas, it was doomed from the start.
Very interesting website. Information (including maps and times) on past and predicted reentry of space junk.
ficus...palindrome et al....
pretty crappy show...but back then there was little to watch...
Under cold war definitions, this is a space weapon.
My favorite line from that show was the debate as to when to wake the crew up from Stasis Sleep.
Capt: Computer, wake us up Sept 23rd at 0530
Crewmember: Awww, why do we have to get up so early ..
Seems suspicious. Who is paying for it? I bet we are paying for it through the UN or something.
“Commence Operation Vacu-Suck!”
Why doesn’t it surprise me those tidy Swiss want to do some space cleaning. :)
How about using Hall Effect ion engines in these satellites to help bring down dead sats?
I have seen interceptors the size of a hockey puck with hypergolic engines, valves, sensors, and avionics. Of course, I cannot tell you how we fabricate such small spacecraft.
Send said hockey puck to a target, fire a net to snare the target, and then unreel a conductive tether with a resistor to dump the current as heat.
De-orbit is pretty fast, even from high altitudes.
In wartime it would come in handy as well.
Hmm. An orbital Roomba. Zoomba?
Now that right there is funny! I don’t care who you are.
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