The TP team, with a model of their space debris destroyer
Given the challenge of finding a way to remove and reduce the amount of space debris such as decommissioned satellites, defunct rockets and exploded mechanical parts that are currently floating aimlessly in space, a team of TP Aerospace students, calling themselves “Team Vacuum Cleaners”, designed and proposed the deployment of a space debris destroyer that would be able to capture and destroy pieces of debris orbiting in space.
After intensive research and in-depth study, the TP Team unveiled the concept of their debris destroyer, called the “Servicer”. Effectively, it is an unmanned spacecraft comprising a main unit, called the “Mothership”, and a detachable smaller unit, called the “De-tumbler”. Once released, the De-tumbler moves towards the targeted debris and seizes it with a Retractable Tentacle Mechanism. The De-tumbler, along with the captured debris, then couples back to the Mothership.
In addition, the Mothership is also equipped with an extendable robotic arm with a “De-orbiter” module. When the Mothership approaches the targeted debris, the arm reaches out, allowing the De-orbiter to dock onto the debris' launch adapter ring. The debris is then hauled back to the Mothership. Equipped with 2 De-orbiter modules, the Mothership can perform this operation twice.
Carrying a total of 3 pieces of captured debris, the Servicer then re-enters to the earth's atmosphere, disintegrating at high speed along with the 3 pieces of captured debris.
The team’s effort won them the Merit award in the annual Singapore Space Challenge, organised by the Singapore Space & Technology Association on 6 Feb 2020.
Participating in such competitions allows TP’s Aerospace students to apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired from their diploma course, exercise their creativity, and max their potential.