Testing the firing of an orbital harpoon intended to secure derelict satellites for disposal. In recent years ESA has been researching the concept of a debris-catching harpoon with European space actors. Its latest activity has covered a fundamental aspect of the concept: the interaction between the harpoon and the target. This activity, conducted by Airbus UK as prime contractor together with Cavendish Laboratory, the University of New South Wales and Brunel University gave some promising results. The contractor proposed to design the projectile in a pointed ‘ogive’ form with a lead tip. They demonstrated that this design performed optimally during impact.
Credits: ESA - European Space Agency / Airbus