DSat space debris Mission successfully launched
© NASA/JPL-Caltech

D-Sat space debris mission successfully launched

D-Sat, the first nanosatellite with the ability to remove itself from orbit in a direct and controlled way through a dedicated device at the end of its mission, has been successfully launched.

The satellite, built and operated by D-Orbit LLC, was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

It is the first in-orbit demonstration of D-Orbit Decommissioning Device (D3), a smart and independent propulsive system designed to decommission a satellite with a direct and controlled propulsive manoeuvre at the end of a space mission, even if the main satellite has become unresponsive.

The same technology can be scaled up to decommission spacecraft of up to five tonnes.

Luca Rossettini, D-Orbit founder and CEO, said: “This mission is a milestone in how we deal with the problem of space debris.

“We believe that everything that goes up should come down as soon as it has served its purpose, and we want to provide a practical and affordable solution to enable this vision. Our dream is to have a D3 installed in every new satellite by 2025.”

The commercial aspect of the mission is funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, while the scientific part of the mission is partially funded by a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

D-Orbit LLC is an Italian space system company specialised in products and services to streamline the commissioning and decommissioning of satellites and constellations, reducing system complexity and cost of operation, and increasing lifetime, reliability and revenues.