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Environmental aspects of passive de-orbiting devices

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Environmental aspects of passive de-orbiting devices

The technical objective of this study was to understand the net effect of using deorbiting technologies like sails or tethers over the future debris population around Earth. In principle, indeed, these attractive technologies will support the compliancy to post-mitigation disposal guidelines, for small missions. However, the increased cross section also increases the collision risk.

  • What will happen in case of collisions with deorbiting satellites using these techniques?
  • When will a catastrophic collision take place and how can it be modelled?
  • How will the debris population around Earth evolve in the future when more and more satellites will use these technologies to deorbit?
  • Is it possible to perform a collision avoidance manoeuvre when a sail or tether is employed?

This study aimes to answer all these questions.

Technology Domain
Executive summary