Low-Cost Orbital Debris Removal Using In-Situ Propellant

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Navy
Amount:
$69,966.00
Award Year:
2010
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
FA9453-10-M-0186
Award Id:
98286
Agency Tracking Number:
N093-223-0187
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
NAVY 09-223
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
9950 Wakeman Drive, Manassas, VA, 20110
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
604717165
Principal Investigator:
John Merk
Senior Electrical Enginee
(617) 500-0281
jmerk@aurora.aero
Business Contact:
Scott Hart
Financial Analyst
(617) 500-0536
shart@aurora.aero
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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