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Noordwijk-Binnen, Netherlands

Vasile M.,University of Glasgow | Summerer L.,ESA Advanced Concepts Team
61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010 | Year: 2010

This paper proposes the simultaneous optimisation of a combination of a number of ground solar power plants with a space-based solar plant (SPS) delivering electric power for European needs. A simplified mathematical model of the integrated space and ground system is developed and used to quantify the mass in space and the cost of the ground plants. The model takes into account the geographical location of the ground stations, the size of the power storage units as well as the orbital motion of the SPS. An evolutionary algorithm is then used to find the optimal trade-off between size and location of the space segment and cost of the ground segment. The results in this paper provide an insight in the usefulness of the support that an SPS system can provide to a ground-based solar power generation system. Copyright © 2010 by the International Astronautical Federation. All rights reserved. Source

Summerer L.,ESA Advanced Concepts Team
Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC | Year: 2012

This paper presents technological and conceptual visions beyond the traditional planning horizon of space agencies. It relies on the research and reflections within the larger advanced concepts research community created by and around ESAs Advanced Concepts Team (ACT) as well as the results of a two day workshop at the occasion of the 10 years anniversary of the ACT, itself focussed on re-thinking the future of space beyond the traditional thought boundaries of the space sector. To this purpose it reviews visions and expectations formulated at the creation of the ACT, results obtained and fundamental changes that are expected to shape space activities and the space sector in a 10-15+ years time frame, while relaying these to ongoing concrete research topics. Copyright © (2012) by the International Astronautical Federation. Source

Summerer L.,ESA Advanced Concepts Team
Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC | Year: 2012

Following their successes in various domains, mainly with the general public, social network sites have been deployed within enterprises and are gradually replacing functions previously served by intranets and email communication. They are known to encourage informal communication between users and contribute to the social capital of the organisation. Such networks furthermore are reported to increase the internal information flow, facilitate or even revolutionise knowledge management, boost innovation levels and create senses of communities especially in organisations spread over different sites and cultures. This paper assesses the potential for such networks for space agencies and reports on the introduction of an internal social network across all ESA sites. It discusses the objectives, scope and technical choices and analyses both quantitatively as well as qualitatively adoption rates, difficulties, and first impacts on the internal organisation. Copyright © (2012) by the International Astronautical Federation. Source

Summerer L.,ESA Advanced Concepts Team | Versloot T.,ESA Advanced Concepts Team | Lecuyot A.,ESA Earth Observation Programme | Duvaux-Bechon I.,CDEX | Signorini C.,Keplerlaan
Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC | Year: 2013

Following preparatory activities, ESA has proposed in 2012 a dedicated and structured approach for its activities in the field of space and energy. Space contributions to transformi the current terrestrial energy system into a more sustainable, ultimately carbonneutral system are considered as much an imperative for a responsible public organisation with the capacity to do so as an attractive opportunity to widen the scope of the space sector and thus allow space industry to benefit from new markets for space technology and space-based applications and services. Those contributions cover the whole range of energy, from identification of where renewable energy can be harvested best, to production, transport, distribution, efficiency, safety of operations, access. They include technology (spin-in, spin out as well as co-development), applications and services. Some of these contributions from the space sector are already taking place naturally. These show the much larger potential of a dedicated initiative towards this goal. The present paper presents the updated activities, main milestones and mid-term planning for these activities, with a special focus on synergetic technology developments for space and terrestrial applications and on the identification of future needs not yet covered by the existing space systems. Copyright © 2013 by the International Astronautical Federation. Source

Pergola P.,University of Pisa | Ruggiero A.,University of Pisa | Andrenucci M.,University of Pisa | Olympio J.,ESA Advanced Concepts Team | Summerer L.,ESA Advanced Concepts Team
62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, IAC 2011 | Year: 2011

The threat represented for space missions by the increasing number of uncontrolled space objects has led to an international consensus regarding space debris mitigation guidelines. Given the naturally increasing debris population, the congestion of some orbits and the risks related to cascading effects following accidental or intentional breakups, systems might be needed to actively remove debris. Concepts for active debris removal have been discussed in the scholarly literature. The present approach is based on a novel, expanding foam system, which serves as a drag augmentation device: the aim is to increase the area-to-mass ratio of debris such that atmospheric drag causes natural reentry from low Earth orbits. The foam-based method realizes the drag augmentation by exploiting the characteristics of foams. These can nucleate almost spherical envelopes around target debris with very limited effort of the spacecraft carrying and applying the foam. The approach offers the advantage over other methods of not requiring any docking systems and the ability to deal with spinning and tumbling debris. The method can also be conceived as a preventive method embedded in future satellites. This paper presents the method and analyses its performance. Special emphasis is given to the key aspects of expanding foams, to the demonstration to specific debris types, leading to sizing of the carrying spacecraft. It is equipped with an electric propulsion system that enhances the performance of the complete mission scenario. With this approach, the specific foam ball radius can be tailored to the debris. Its sizing considers the foam mass, the deorbiting time and the risks related to impact probability of targeted objects. An upper threshold of 10 m radius assures the deorbiting of most of the selected debris within a reasonable time. The approach heavily relies on the foam characteristics, e.g. its density and expansion factor. In this study a low order expanding model is introduced and several assumptions close to state-of-the-art for ground-based foam models are considered. First results demonstrate the feasibility to deorbit up to 1 ton debris within 25 years from 900 km altitude with this method. A high power Hall effect thruster assures to deorbit about 3 ton of cumulated space debris per year. All in all, the study demonstrates the feasibility of the method, even as a relatively short-term application, since most key technology assumptions taken are based on state-of-the-art references. Copyright ©2010 by the International Astronautical Federation. All rights reserved. Source

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