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Mission typeActive debris removal
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass1,600 kilograms (3,500 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date2025[1]
Launch siteELA-1, Guiana Space Centre
End of mission
Capture of derelict satellite

e.Deorbit is a planned European Space Agency active space debris removal mission developed as a part of their Clean Space initiative.[2][3] The launch is planned for 2025 on board a Vega launch vehicle.[1][4][5]


A 1,600-kilogram (3,500 lb) spacecraft will be launched on board a Vega rocket into a polar orbit at an altitude of 800-1,000 kilometres (500-620 mi). Once on orbit, the spacecraft will rendezvous with the derelict satellite Envisat which is in an unknown condition, inoperative, and probably tumbling.[3]

Capture will be conducted in one of two ways: either by using mechanical tentacles or nets. The tentacles option includes equipping the spacecraft with robotic arms, one of which will first capture a holding point, before the remaining arms embrace the derelict and secure it with a clamping mechanism. The net option includes equipping the spacecraft with a deployable net on a tether, that will envelop the target derelict before the spacecraft will begin changing orbit.[6]:13,24,25 The net option has the advantage of being able to capture objects with a wide range of sizes and spins.[7]

After successfully capturing the targeted derelict, the spacecraft will deorbit itself by performing a controlled atmospheric reentry.[5]


The mission was developed at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility, with studies for the Clean Space programme on de-orbiting techniques being carried out in 2009.[5][8] The first symposium about the mission took place in May 2014.[2] Early testing included successful attempts at capturing scale model satellites by shooting nets from compressed air ejectors.[7] The first design stage was completed in June 2015, with a systems requirements review being conducted in May-June 2016 and a final mission approval taking place in December 2016.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b Pultarova, Tereza (29 January 2019). "European Space Junk Cleanup Concept Gets New Mission: Refuel and Repair". Space.com. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b "e.Deorbit Symposium". ESA. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Space fishing: ESA floats plan to net space junk". Gizmag. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ "E.DEORBIT Mission". ESA. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "ESA heading towards removing space debris". ESA. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Robin Biesbroek (22 May 2013). "The e.Deorbit CDF Study" (PDF). Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ a b Rick Pantaleo (23 March 2015). "Fishing in Outer Space for Bigger Junk". Voice of America. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "Clean Space". ESA, Concurrent Design Facility. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 2015.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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