»NABEO: a cube satellite sail for removing space debris (design, launch and mission)«
2019-03-02, 15:30–15:50, Maker Stage
It's time to clean up our (space) junk, the NABEO dragsail removes satellites with increasing their area by deploying a sail. The talk summarizes the design and the manufacturing that was carried out within just a few month leasing to the launch into space in November 2018.
The space debris environment especially in the low earth orbit is an increasing risk for all spaceflight missions (currently there are over 700 000 pieces of space debris larger than 1cm and millions of smaller than one cm). Without effective mitigation measures the debris density will increase to a level where spaceflight becomes more and more endangered. Especially collision fragments will become a dominant part in the debris population larger than 1 cm. Therefore, to ensure safety for future space flight, end-of-life de-orbiting of satellites and upper stages is necessary. Especially now considering the surge of nanosatellites and mega constillations of multible hundred of satellites. Therefore, the team devloped the NABEO subsystem which is a 2.5m2 dragsail deployed from a < cube sat envelope (10cm x 10cm x 10cm). In 2018 a leap in the development was achieved that resulted in the first mission to space onboard the Rocket Lab rocket "It's Business Time" rocket. On the 11th of November at 4:50am Central European Time, the NABEO-1 dragsail technology demonstrator was launched into space onboard the Rocket Lab Electron rocket #ItsBusinessTime. This dragsail is a means to passively remove satellites from highly congested Low Earth Orbit regions after their mission life without the need for the spacecraft to be still alive.