The problem of removing space debris is possible more challenging than decommisionning satellites.

For the least, there is already a commercial offering.

What is the technology gap to removal of space debris (being actually parts of satellites and having also some orbits but less mass and possibly there is no exact detail data about surface, form and size)?


Something like the D3 system you linked to is completely different from something to handle debris - it's a mechansim for planned disposal of a spacecraft (ie prevention of junk/debris rather than cleanup) and has to be installed on the satellite before launch. You can't just go around duct-taping them to the side of junk and using it.

Cleaning up what are essentially inert bits of junk that as you say we have very little concrete physical data on that are moving very, very fast is a completely different paradigm.

  • $\begingroup$ I see the point: I have imagined the D3 system is suited for traveling to satellites and picking them up. $\endgroup$ – J. Doe Jan 3 '19 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Doe Afraid not.. D3 is to some sort of autonomous track-capture-dispose system as an ejector seat is to a drone that flies to a distressed plane, extracts the pilot and carries him to the ground. The outcome may be similar but that's about it. $\endgroup$ – motosubatsu Jan 3 '19 at 14:57

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