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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.
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