Space is getting crowded. There are more than 300 million objects orbiting around the Earth at speeds of more than 30,000 km/h, and of over 6,000 satellites that have been launched in the last 40 years, only 1,000 are still in operation. International regulations require satellite operators to remove their satellites at the end of their life, either through deorbiting or sending them to graveyard orbit, but current technologies fail to do this in 66% of cases.
And space activities are not sustainable: if the increasing number of defunct satellites in orbit are not quickly disposed of, the risk of chain collisions rendering space activities unfeasible in specific orbital ranges, for many generations, will become real. And the overall impact of man-made orbital debris, solid and liquid propellant discharges, and the burning of space leftovers during reentry greatly affects Earth’s stratosphere and atmosphere. Clean up missions are costly, are only capable of removing 5-10 satellites per year, and rely on completely uncontrolled passive de-orbiting devices.
D-Orbit has developed a standalone smart propulsion device that is able to remove any kind of satellite from its orbit in a quick, safe and controlled manner, in order to avoid collisions with other operating spacecraft or the possibility of the satellite falling back to Earth uncontrolled. D-Orbit’s device extends the operative life of the satellite by up to six months, allows for easier and cheaper decommissioning operations, and helps re-position the satellite in case of launch failure or for rapid collision avoidance maneuvers. This solution has been evaluated by the European Space Agency (ESA) as the best solution for deorbiting devices.