Active debris removal: EDDE, the electrodynamic debris eliminator

J. Pearson*, J. Carroll, E. Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The ElectroDynamic Debris Eliminator (EDDE) is a low-cost solution for LEO space debris removal. EDDE can affordably remove nearly all the 2,465 objects of more than 2 kg that are now in 500-2000 km orbits. That is more than 99% of the total mass, collision area, and debris-generation potential in LEO. EDDE is a propellantless vehicle that reacts against the Earth's magnetic field. EDDE can climb about 200 km/day and change orbit plane at 1.5°/day, even in polar orbit. No other electric vehicle can match these rates, much less sustain them for years. After catching and releasing one object, EDDE can climb and torque its orbit to reach another object within days, while actively avoiding other catalogued objects. Binocular imaging allows accurate relative orbit determination from a distance. Capture uses lightweight expendable nets and real-time man-in-the-loop control. After capture, EDDE drags debris down and releases it and the net into a short-lived orbit safely below ISS, or can take it to a storage/recycling facility. EDDE can also sling debris into controlled reentry, or can include an adjustable drag device with the net before release, to allow later adjustment of payload reentry location. A dozen 100-kg EDDE vehicles could remove nearly all 2166 tons of LEO orbital debris in 7 years. EDDE enables and justifies a shift in focus, from simply reducing the rate of debris growth to active wholesale removal of all large debris objects in LEO.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 27 Sep 20101 Oct 2010

Publication series

Name61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010


Conference61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


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