Gadgets

Americans are developing a fuel-free engine for recycling satellites


The problem of space debris formed fromthe satellites that had worked out their life, excited engineers quite seriously and forced them to develop effective and sometimes original methods for destroying "retired" spacecraft. In the bowels of the US Department of Defense, the idea is being developed to create a “final breakthrough” engine that does not have moving parts and does not require additional fuel.

The principle of operation is borrowed from earth fishermen,using floating anchors. Currently, the project is at the stage of completing technical specifications, therefore, without a prototype, it is difficult to imagine what other technical ideas will be implemented in such engines.
Development is underway at Researchlaboratory of the fleet in Washington (DC) and a Cubesat-class satellite has already been created, which, if necessary, is divided into two parts, connected by a cable from an electrically conductive material, 1 km long. After starting the electricity along the cable, the interaction of the satellite system with the electromagnetic field of the Earth begins.

Engineers need to calculate the turn-on timesystems, so that the effect of the Earth's magnetic field is directed toward attraction to the planet. Even a slight displacement will allow you to displace Cubesat from orbit and send it on a journey to the dense layers of the atmosphere for complete destruction. Such a flight may drag on for several years, but in the end the remnants of the satellite will burn out, and will not pollute the Earth’s orbit.

Source: scientificamerican