Low-Cost Orbital Debris Removal Using In-Situ Propellant
Agency / Branch:
DOD / NAVY
Space Debris is a rapidly increasing problem, as evidenced by the recent COSMOS-IRIDIUM crash of February, 2009. This crash is estimated to have increased the orbital debris that is greater than 1 cm by 190,000 objects (more than 30%). Removal of the largest debris elements would eliminate the fuel that feeds such sudden escalation events, allowing future schemes for removal of smaller debris to make headway. The proposed effort will study the use of the largest debris elements (full spacecraft) as a source of propellant for their own de-orbit by ablating them away with a laser. The objectives are to develop a feasible operational scenario and vehicle concept, determine the state-of-the art of the required subsystems and evaluate the performance of typical spacecraft materials as propellants. The development of the concept and determination of the state-of-the art will be conducted as a study of the open literature, whereas the evaluation of propellant materials will be carried out experimentally.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
9950 Wakeman Drive Manassas, VA 20110
Number of Employees: