Observatorio de I+D+i UPM

Memorias de investigación
Communications at congresses:
Reverse electric propulsion with electrodynamic tethers
Research Areas
  • Space technology,
  • Aeronautical engineering
A novel concept for the active removal of large space debris is proposed exploiting the use of a high-speed targeted ion beam with, or without, electrodynamic tethers. After introducing the space debris removal problem and its technological challenges, a brief description of the concept, known as Ion Beam Shepherd (IBS), is provided highlighting its technical feasibility, performance and reusability, based on simple physics. In the IBS concept, the Debris Shepherd (DS) is equipped with an electric propulsion system generating an ion beam pointed against the Space Debris (SD) to remotely modify its orbit and/or attitude without physical contact with the latter. An external power supply and a secondary propulsion system are required to provide, respectively, the power to feed the electric propulsion system and the thrust needed to balance the reaction of the targeted ion beam, hence keeping the distance between the DS and the SD bounded at all times. Although in principle conceptually simple, the proposed removal approach involves a new and interesting challenge from the dynamics and control point of view. The DS and the SD should be de-orbited simultaneously in a controlled and reliable way, keeping a safe distance between each other to avoid undesired collisions.
6th International Workshop and Advanced School "Spaceflight Dynamics and Control
Covilha, Portugal
Start Date
End Date
From page
To page
  • Autor: Hodei Urrutxua Cereijo (UPM)
  • Autor: Jesus Pelaez Alvarez (UPM)
  • Autor: Claudio Bombardelli (UPM)
  • Autor: Eduardo Ahedo Galilea (UPM)
  • Autor: Mario Merino Martinez (UPM)
  • Autor: Leopold Summerer (ESA, Advanced Concept Team)
Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Departamento: Física Aplicada a la Ingeniería Aeronáutica
S2i 2021 Observatorio de investigación @ UPM con la colaboración del Consejo Social UPM
Cofinanciación del MINECO en el marco del Programa INNCIDE 2011 (OTR-2011-0236)
Cofinanciación del MINECO en el marco del Programa INNPACTO (IPT-020000-2010-22)