Scientists Unveil Space Debris-Cleaning Nanosatellite
[Satellite TODAY 04-01-10] U.K. scientists, funded by Astrium, have developed a 30-kilogram nanosatellite intended to clear more than 5,500 tons of debris in low-Earth orbit, the University of Surrey announced March 31.
The CubeSail nanosatellite, fitted with a solar sail, is designed to attach to other satellites or launch vehicle upper stages and independently deploy itself to passively de-orbit equipment that has reached the end of its mission.
"Following successful in orbit demonstration, the proposed de-orbit system will be offered as a standard de-orbit system for low-Earth orbit missions for satellites with a mass of less than 500 [kilograms] at a very low cost,” Vaios Lappas, lead project researcher at the Surrey Space Centre, said in a statement.
CubeSail is scheduled for launch with new satellite in 2011 and is expected to be available for shifting existing debris in 2013. The deployable sail will be used in a demonstration mission to be launched in late 2011.