ESA Awards D-Orbit UK Contract for Debris Removal Demonstration
The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded the U.K. branch of D-Orbit a contract to develop debris removal technology, the company announced Wednesday, Sept. 8. The ESA contract is worth $2.6 million (2.2 million euros) as part of ESA’s Space Safety Programme (S2P).
D-Orbit will development and perform an in-orbit demonstration of a “Deorbit Kit” — equipment that can enable any space vehicle to perform a propulsive decommissioning maneuver. D-Orbit will lead a consortium that also includes Airbus Defence and Space, ArianeGroup, GMV Innovating Solutions, and Optimal Structural Solutions.
The consortium will develop the multi-purpose kit, which will be installed initially on a Vega rocket payload adapter called Vespa. The kit will be installed before the launch to perform a propulsive direct reentry maneuver over a designated area shortly after the rocket has deployed its payload.
“The work performed in this activity will define a foundational capability that can be adapted in the future for active debris removal mission concepts, such as on-orbit installation of de-orbit kits on satellites already in space,” said Simon Reid, COO of the U.K. branch of D-Orbit.