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Scuttling satellites to save space

26 March 2015

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It takes a lot of ingenuity - not to mention a massive quantity of sheer force - to get satellites into orbit. Now space engineers are applying comparable ingenuity to the challenge of getting their missions out of there, too.

ESA, working closely with Europe's satellite builders, will ask industry for new designs to help remove satellites from orbit at the end of their working lives, as well as 'passivating' them - making them safer for neighbouring missions.

The selected concepts will be evaluated in ESA's Concurrent Design Facility at the Agency's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. This interlinked multimedia facility allows a large number of different specialists to work on the same software models at once.

The aim is to develop common approaches that can be used by upcoming satellites from all of Europe's main companies.

Source: European Space Agency (ESA)

Image credit: NASA - Artist's concept of solar sail

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