Removing Space Debris and Deflecting Asteroids with Ion Beams


Bombardelli C.

Мадридский политехнический университет, C/ Ramiro de Maeztu, 7. 28040 Madrid



The tasks of actively removing space debris and deflecting asteroids are greatly simplified by the use of contactless actuation, in which linear and angular momentum is transferred to a target without a direct mechanical interaction. The recently proposed ion beam shepherd (IBS) concept enables contactless actuation in a very efficient way by using the beam momentum of an ion engine or space plasma thruster pointed towards the surface of a target. This article summarizes the main aspects of the IBS technology and its applicability to the space debris removal and asteroid deflection problems.

Ключевые слова:

ion beam shepherd; asteroid deflection; space debris

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