Le plan d'Outpost Technologies

The company Outpost Technologies has an original idea for gently bring back the satellites which are in orbit around the Earth. She will use paragliders. In April 2022, the company conducted tests that involved dropping a load from a height of approximately 38 km and bringing it back to the ground using a paraglider. These tests gave satisfactory results.

For Outpost Technologies, the goal is to be able to bring spacecraft back to Earth at the end of their mission to be analyzed or reused. Among these devices, there are, for example, satellites that have run out of fuel, or the experiments of the International Space Station (ISS) on which astronauts work more.

Credits Outpost Technologies

Currently, there is an urgent need to “clean up” Earth’s orbit which is filled with broken devices and space junk. The ISS is also full of old experiments and equipment that take up space, making it difficult to install new devices. For Jason Dunn, CEO of Outpost, what they are developing will put an end to space junk.

The principle used by Outpost

According to the explanations, the principle consists in catching the satellites in orbit using a small vehicle, then guide the latter through the atmosphere using a paraglider. The device will travel at subsonic speeds, allowing it to land safely. To be even more profitable, the company plans to launch satellites during takeoff before collecting old devices to bring back to Earth.

Dunn says they guide the paraglider and satellite to a landing site. During the tests, they were able to achieve an accuracy of 5 m at the time of landing.

The case of the ISS

We can say that the idea of ​​Outpost interests NASA. Indeed, on December 6, the American space agency granted a preliminary contract to business for development a “cargo ferry” version of the technology to bring back equipment from the ISS.

According to Dunn, the ferry will be ready long before the ISS retires in 2030. This ferry will bring small experiments back to Earth that are usually completed after a few weeks. Larger loads will continue to be carried by cargo ships like the capsule spacex dragon.

So far, Outpost’s ideas are in the early stages of design and testing. However, the business is expanding rapidly to meet future demands. The company was able to secure 6.57 million euros in seed money last summer thanks to its reusable satellite projects.

SOURCE: Space.com

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