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The Aerobraking Sail for Launcher Upper Stage Deorbiting: Concept Feasibility & Technological Solutions

Santerre, Brice 1, Cerf, Max1
Affiliation data not available1

Document details

Publishing year2009 PublisherESA Publishing typeConference Name of conference5th European Conference on Space Debris
Pagesn/a Volume
H. Lacoste


From 2004, Astrium Space Transportation is working with CNES on a solution for space debris mitigation in the frame of the Microscope Satellite program. This solution consists in using aerodynamic draft for satellite deorbiting. Such a concept - called "aerobraking sail" - is feasible only by using ultra-light deployable structures called "Gossamer structures", which advantages are the low occupied volume in folded configuration, the low mass and the low manufacturing cost for a large deployed surface. Theses structures and the associated technologies are currently under development at Astrium Space Transportation.Using this background on the aerobraking sail concept and the associated Gossamer structures technologies, Astrium Space Transportation decided to propose a solution for launcher upper stages deorbiting. A concept feasibility analysis was performed in order to define aerobraking sail architecture and size that could fulfil the need. In parallel, technological solutions using Gossamer inflatable and rigidizable technology were reviewed and compared.