DEBRIS – cleaning space at scale


Initial submission

The ever-growing amount of space debris is a critical threat to the space industry and jeopardises the essential services provided to clients all over the world. Although the potential for cascading collisions was outlined many decades ago, no active countermeasures to remove debris from orbit have yet been realised. DEBRIS is a small satellite for active debris removal. It utilises its geometry-independent, multi-capturing-capable mechanism to attach to target objects. After establishing physical contact with its target, DEBRIS employs passive devices — a drag sail and a tether — to deorbit them with great flexibility. From an economic perspective, DEBRIS renders active space debris removal profitable. Key cost-reducing features are its rideshare-optimised design, commercial off-the-shelf components, as well as its low development and operational costs. DEBRIS’s cost-effectiveness and scalability make it unique among other
proposals for active space debris removal.


Participating in the INNOspace Masters was more than just a competition; it was the crucial step that brought our project a significant step forward on its journey from idea to reality. Our participation has opened doors and established vital connections to experts from industry and academia as well as politics. We are grateful for the platform it provided, which led to a public
awareness of our project we never experienced before and increased our connections within the space ecosystem significantly, thereby representing the first step in establishing a consortium that might be crucial to implementing the idea.

  • TRL (Technical Readiness Level) Development from 3 to 4
  • Participation in Falling Walls Labs in 2022 as one of 2 Germany emerging talents among 80 pitches
  • Markets: Europe and America (USA)
  • Customers: Institutional and governmental entities, opening to B2B


Niklas Wendel of JuForum has not only attracted OHB‘s attention with his very promising idea to mitigate space debris, but also won first place in the INNOMASTER Challenge 2021. We are very pleased that together we were able to pave the way for the development of this outstanding concept.

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