Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
Magnetic space tug could target dead satellites
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jun 21, 2017


Derelict satellites could in future be grappled and removed from key orbits around Earth with a space tug using magnetic forces. Researcher Emilien Fabacher of the Institut Superieur de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace, part of the University of Toulouse in France, is studying magnetic grappling as a method of space debris removal, as well as examining the technique's potential for satellite formation flying.

Derelict satellites could in future be grappled and removed from key orbits around Earth with a space tug using magnetic forces.

This same magnetic attraction or repulsion is also being considered as a safe method for multiple satellites to maintain close formations in space.

Such satellite swarms are being considered for future astronomy or Earth-observing missions - if their relative positions can stay stable they could act as a single giant telescope.

To combat space debris, interest is growing in plucking entire satellites from space. The biggest challenge is to grapple and secure such uncontrolled, rapidly tumbling objects, typically of several tonnes.

Multiple techniques are being investigated, including robotic arms, nets and harpoons.

Now researcher Emilien Fabacher of the Institut Superieur de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace, part of the University of Toulouse in France, has added another method to the list: magnetic grappling.

"With a satellite you want to deorbit, it's much better if you can stay at a safe distance, without needing to come into direct contact and risking damage to both chaser and target satellites," explains Emilien.

"So the idea I'm investigating is to apply magnetic forces either to attract or repel the target satellite, to shift its orbit or deorbit it entirely."

Such target satellites would not need to be specially equipped in advance. Instead, such a tug would influence target satellites using their 'magnetorquers': reliable electromagnets already carried to adjust orientation using Earth's magnetic field.

"These are standard issue aboard many low-orbiting satellites," adds Emilien.

The strong magnetic field required by the chaser satellite would be generated using superconducting wires cooled to cryogenic temperatures.

Similarly satellites could also keep multiple satellites flying in precise formation, comments Finn Ankersen, an ESA expert in rendezvous and docking, formation flight.

"This kind of contactless magnetic influence would work from about 10-15 m out, offering positioning precision within10 cm with attitude precision 1-2+ ."

For his PhD research, Emilien has been researching how the resulting guidance, navigation and control techniques would work in practice, combining a rendezvous simulator with magnetic interaction models, while also taking account of the ever-changing state of Earth's own magnetosphere.

His research has been supported through ESA's Networking/Partnering Initiative, which supports work carried out by universities and research institutes on advanced technologies with potential space applications. Emilien also visited ESA's technical centre in the Netherlands, to consult with Agency experts.

Emilien recalls that the concept originally came out of discussion with ESA experts, and he was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to explore its feasibility: "The first surprise was that it was indeed possible, theoretically - initially we couldn't be sure, but it turns out that the physics works fine."

TECH SPACE
Indian Space Agency to Work on Electric Propulsion for Large Satellites
New Delhi (Sputnik) Jun 07, 2017
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to work on incorporating and utilizing electric propulsion in its spacecraft which will be more cost effective and can help in interplanetary missions. Electric propulsion system will replace the currently used chemical propellants. Unlike chemical propulsion, electric propulsion is not limited in energy which can send spacecraft to a lo ... read more

Related Links
Space Engineering andTechnology at ESA
Space Technology News - Applications and Research


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

TECH SPACE
Plants to feed Earth and beyond

Orion Kicks Off Summer with Series of Safety Tests

Teachers doubt most students interested in subjects that promote space careers

Russia launches space freighter to ISS

TECH SPACE
OHB Italia sign contract to launch PRISMA Italian satellite with Arianespace

Kazakh man dies in fire after Russian rocket launch

NASA and Industry Team Successfully Test Orion Launch Abort Motor

India's 'Baahubali' GSLV MK III Lifts Less Luggage Than Lighter Rockets

TECH SPACE
NASA, French Space Agency Express Commitment to Joint Exploration

Martian Crater Provides Reminder of Apollo Moonwalk

MAVEN's top 10 discoveries at Mars

Russian Institute to Start Long-Haul Mars Mission Simulations in November

TECH SPACE
New broadcasting satellite fails to enter preset orbit

China to launch four more probes before 2021

China launches remote-sensing micro-nano satellites

China's cargo spacecraft completes second in-orbit refueling

TECH SPACE
Boeing Streamlining Defense and Space Unit to boost competitiveness

Trudeau under pressure to reject China bid for satellite firm

Jumpstart goes into alliance with major aerospace and defence group ADS

Thomas Pesquet returns to Earth

TECH SPACE
Changing the color of laser light on the femtosecond time scale

Researchers create 3-D printed tensegrity objects capable of dramatic shape change

New form of carbon that's hard as a rock, yet elastic, like rubber

Northrop Grumman tests flat-panel radar

TECH SPACE
New Hunt for Earth-like Planets

NASA releases Kepler Survey Catalog with 100s of new exoplanet candidates

Astronomers Explain Formation of Seven Exoplanets Around TRAPPIST-1

OU astrophysicist identifies composition of Earth-size planets in TRAPPIST-1 system

TECH SPACE
New Horizons Team Digs into New Data on Next Flyby Target

King of the Gods: Jupiter Dated to Be Oldest Planet in the Solar System

A whole new Jupiter with first science results from Juno

First results from Juno show cyclones and massive magnetism




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement