Abstract

Studies show that the number of debris in low Earth orbit is exponentially growing despite future debris release mitigation measures considered. Specifically, the already existing population of small and medium debris (between 1 cm and several dozens of cm) is today a concrete threat to operational satellites. A ground-based laser solution which can remove, at low expense and in a nondestructive way, hazardous debris around selected space assets appears as a highly promising answer. This solution is studied within the framework of the CLEANSPACE project which is part of the FP7 space program. The overall CLEANSPACE objective is: to propose an efficient and affordable global system architecture, to tackle safety regulation aspects, political implications and future collaborations, to develop affordable technological bricks, and to establish a roadmap for the development and the future implantation of a fully functional laser protection system. This paper will present the main conclusions of the CLEANSPACE project.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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