Scientists from the Shanghai Academy of Space Technology (SAST) reported on the successful deployment of an experimental drag sail. It is designed to accelerate the process of de-orbiting spent equipment and solving the problem of space debris.
To date, experts have proposed a number of methods designed to solve the problem of space debris. One of them is equipping rocket stages and satellites with unfurled sails. They should enhance the drag effect exerted by the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere and accelerate the process of de-orbiting spent space technology.
Experts from SAST decided to conduct an experiment to test the effectiveness of this technology. The mission to launch three Yaogan-35 reconnaissance satellites was chosen for it. The sail, with a total surface area of 25m2, was mounted on a 300-kilogram payload adapter of the Long March 2D rocket. It was launched on June 24, 2022.
On July 4, SAST published images showing a successfully deployed sail. The adapter is currently in orbit with a perigee height of 485 km and an apogee height of 497 km. It is expected that thanks to the sail, it will burn up in the earth’s atmosphere within the next two years. The Long March 2D upper stage, which has similar orbital characteristics, will be used as a control sample. It is assumed that it will stay in orbit much longer than an adapter with a sail.
According to https://www.space.com
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