PROBA is a space program managed by ESA for the in-orbit demonstration of platform and payload [+]
Mission e.Deorbit, phase B1
- Start date:
After decades of launches Earth is surrounded by a halo of space junk of more than 17 000 trackable objects, which threaten working missions with possible collision.
The only way to control the debris population across key low orbits is to remove large items such as derelict satellites and launcher upper stages.
Such uncontrolled multi-tonne items besides of being collision risks can also explode due to leftover fuel or partially charged batteries heated up by orbital sunlight.
The e.Deorbit mission objective is to “Remove a single ESA-owned Space Debris from LEO protected zone” (in this case Envisat, on the picture). The mission consists of a satellite (chaser) that is launched by a small or medium launcher. It performs a rendezvous with ESA-owned debris (target) and captures and removes the target from LEO protected zone by means of de-orbiting into the atmosphere. Main technical challenge of the mission is how to capture a massive, drifting object left in an uncertain state, which may well be tumbling rapidly.
The objective of phase B1 study is definition of the e.Deorbit implementation baseline and its technical specification, including interfaces. Further objective is an assessment of the proposed test and verification approach as well as its compliance with ECSS.
The main role of SENER in the study is related to the interface definition for rigid capture and analysis and design of the clamping mechanism.
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