ESA’s Pioneering Mission for Active Space Debris Removal

The ClearSpace‑1 mis­sion is an ambi­tious project com­mis­sioned by the Euro­pean Space Agency (ESA) and under­tak­en by the Swiss start­up Clear­Space. It aims to demon­strate the fea­si­bil­i­ty of active debris removal and pave the way for future ini­tia­tives to tack­le the grow­ing prob­lem of space debris. The tar­get for removal is a Ves­pa (Vega Sec­ondary Pay­load Adapter) upper stage, which was left in orbit after a 2013 Vega launch.


The ClearSpace‑1 mis­sion involves the deploy­ment of a spe­cial­ly designed space­craft that will ren­dezvous and cap­ture the tar­get debris object. The cap­ture will be per­formed using a robot­ic arm mech­a­nism, and once the debris is secured, the space­craft will per­form a deor­bit maneu­ver, caus­ing both the debris and the cap­ture space­craft to burn up in the Earth’s atmos­phere.


DSI designs, devel­ops and man­u­fac­tures the On-Board Data Han­dling Unit (OBDH), one of the most crit­i­cal units of the satel­lite.



Assess Asteroid Deflection Techniques and Study the Didymos System

Hera is the Euro­pean Space Agency’s mis­sion to study the Didy­mos bina­ry aster­oid sys­tem, fol­low­ing NASA’s DART mis­sion. It aims to assess the effec­tive­ness of redi­rect­ing an asteroid’s tra­jec­to­ry by col­lid­ing a space­craft with it. Hera will inves­ti­gate the phys­i­cal prop­er­ties, struc­ture, and dynam­ics of the Didy­mos sys­tem, study the effects of the DART impact, and deploy Cube­Sats for sur­face map­ping and inte­ri­or struc­ture analy­sis. The mis­sion seeks to enhance our under­stand­ing of aster­oids, their poten­tial as resources, and plan­e­tary defense tech­niques. It will pro­vide cru­cial data for future space explo­ration and safe­guard­ing against aster­oid impacts.


DSI designed, devel­oped, man­u­fac­tured and qual­i­fied the MMU which is respon­si­ble for the acqui­si­tion and data stor­age from the instru­ments and from the on-board com­put­er.



Explore the Secrets of a Pristine Comet or Interstellar Object

Comet Inter­cep­tor is an upcom­ing ESA mis­sion to study a pris­tine comet or inter­stel­lar object vis­it­ing our solar sys­tem. It con­sists of a main space­craft and daugh­ter space­craft that will inter­cept and observe the tar­get from dif­fer­ent angles. The mis­sion aims to uncov­er insights into the ear­ly stages of our solar system’s for­ma­tion and the com­po­si­tion of these celes­tial bod­ies. By ana­lyz­ing their struc­ture, activ­i­ty, and com­po­si­tion, Comet Inter­cep­tor seeks to make ground­break­ing dis­cov­er­ies about comets and inter­stel­lar objects, shed­ding light on the ori­gins of our cos­mic neigh­bor­hood and advanc­ing our under­stand­ing of these enig­mat­ic enti­ties.


DSI designs, devel­ops and man­u­fac­tures the MMU based on the design for the Hera mis­sion.



Satellite Deorbiting Using Earth’s Atmosphere in LEO

The ADEO (Drag Aug­men­ta­tion Deor­bit­ing Sys­tem) sub-sys­tem uti­lizes the Earth’s resid­ual atmos­phere in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to pas­sive­ly deor­bit satel­lites. By deploy­ing a large drag sail, it enhances the satellite’s drag effect, result­ing in accel­er­at­ed decay of its orbital alti­tude. A key advan­tage is its abil­i­ty to pas­sive­ly sta­bi­lize the satellite’s atti­tude, mak­ing it suit­able for non-oper­a­tional and tum­bling space­craft. More­over, the ADEO sub­sys­tem is lighter than active sys­tems as it does­n’t require addi­tion­al propul­sion or engines.


DSI designed, devel­oped and man­u­fac­tured the On-Board Data Han­dling Unit (OBDH).

“Space safe­ty starts with the devel­op­ment of depend­able space sys­tems.”

 Eyvaz Lyatif
Soft­ware Engi­neer

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