Remove Debris was deployed from the International Space Station on 20th June 2018, with launch service interface and launch provision by NanoRacks and NASA respectively.
The RemoveDEBRIS mission performed a number of active space debris removal technology demonstrations, testing novel technologies, representative of an operational scenario during a low-cost mission.
SSTL designed and manufactured the Remove Debris satellite platform, which hosts the payloads for use in the debris removal demonstrations. These payloads, or technical content within them, were produced by mission partners Airbus, ArianeGroup, CSEM, Inria, ISIS, SSC, and Stellenbosch University.
The RemoveDEBRIS mission performed four innovative Active Debris Removal (ADR) experiments - the first, the deployment of a net developed by Airbus in Bremen designed to capture a target cubesat, was successfully completed on 16 September 2018.
The mission also successfully tested a vision-based navigation system from Airbus in Toulouse and CSEM in Switzerland that used 2D and 3D LiDaR (light detection and ranging) technology to track a cubesat released from the main spacecraft
In February 2019 a harpoon developed by Airbus in Stevenage was fired at 20 metres/second to penetrate a target made of composite material.
Finally, the RemoveDEBRIS craft deployed a large dragsail to speed de-orbit into the Earth’s atmosphere.