Active Debris Removal
A tethered-net system for the single-target capture and removal of tumbling space debris has been developed and tested by Obruta.
This novel tethered-net has been validated numerically through on-orbit capture simulations and experimentally using the Spacecraft Proximity Operations Testbed at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Current single-target tether-based orbital debris mission profiles contain a launch of the servicer satellite, a rendezvous with the target debris, the deployment of the target capturing payload, the stabilization of the tethered target and servicer satellites, and finally a maneuver to a lower orbit which will naturally decay the tethered satellite system at a rapid rate.
Our design improves the capture and stabilization phases. By leveraging the visco-elastic material properties of our tether, the angular rates of a captured target are passively dampened. This stabilization effect is shown in the graph by the difference between a traditional single tether (Black) and Obruta's tether (Red) over one orbital period.
When applied to an active debris removal mission, it results in a lower overall amount of fuel required for attitude control of the tethered satellite system. This directly translates to a smaller servicer spacecraft required for the mission, a reduction in mass, and savings on the price of launch.
Obruta's tethered-net is scalable to accommodate multi-target active debris removal missions. When combined with multiple deployment mechanisms and end-of-life deorbiting solutions any satellite can be equipped to remove multiple objects in a single mission.
For questions about our tethered-net technology please contact us.
A prototype tethered-net deployment mechanism is in development by Obruta. For updates on the progress of this technology, please contact us.