Video: Sails for rapid satellite deorbiting

We have visited the Space Traffic Control conference organised by the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. There was a lot of interesting stuff going on. At the end of the event University of Glasgow’s Patrick Harkness showed us how the sail technology would work for rapid satellite deorbiting – you can watch the video below. The sail is deployed in a fraction of a second but it takes ages to fold it back. Luckily enough, in space it will only have to deploy once.

It is actually quite fascinating, using such sails, you can bring a satellite to re-entry in weeks instead of decades.  Since 1957 the space around Earth have become cluttered with tonnes of obsolete spacecraft and spent rocket stages.  It’s becoming rather unsafe up there – high time for some major clean-up.

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