Low Cost Orbital Debris Removal System

Period of Performance: 07/14/2010 - 01/14/2011

$69.9K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

L'Garde, Inc.
15181 Woodlawn Avenue
Tustin, CA 92780
Principal Investigator

Abstract

In this Phase I effort, L''Garde will establish the feasibility of using a netted trap with integrated solar sail to capture and deorbit high-payoff space debris from high and medium Earth orbits. A subscale model of the trap will be built and tested. The high-payoff debris is a hundred or so spent upper stages and dead satellites, suspected of having residual fuel in them which might explode, sending out a cloud of debris that could endanger vital space assets. Such explosions occur several times every year. L''Garde will adapt its flight-ready inflatable solar sail technologies for the design. These sails are compactly packageable, opening the possibility of multi-manifests in secondary slots for rapid threat reduction. The deorbit device is simple and passive for low cost. Optionally, a separate steerable solar sail will be developed to hop from target to target, delivering the trap & deorbit devices. Once proven, the deorbit devices can be sold to commercial satellite operators, and the solar sail technology can be sold for other uses.