Motivation Behind the TeSeR Project

The issue of space debris has drawn the attention of governments, space agencies, spacecraft operators and manufacturers alike. Some catastrophic orbital events and the sheer number of conjunction warnings have led spacecraft operators, regulators and manufacturers to rethink conventional approaches. Defunct and uncontrolled spacecraft are a dangerous source of new space debris. Each uncontrolled satellite might collide with other satellites or other debris leading to new debris clouds. An example of this is the Iridium-Cosmos collision which occurred on February 10, 2009 over Northern Siberia. In this incident, a defunct and an operating satellite collided and created hundreds of new pieces of debris. As a result, many other spacecraft had to fly avoidance maneuvers and continue to do so today and in the future.

Many spacecraft are not being removed after they finish operating. They may not have the necessary removal technology on board or suffer from technical failures and, thus, turn into space junk. In order to mitigate the space debris problem, all future spacecraft should be removed at the end of their mission. Currently, the engineering of post mission disposal systems is complex and costly. Conventional solutions are usually tailor-made for a specific spacecraft. In contrast, TeSeR will offer a modular, standardized and reliable solution at lower cost.

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