Would you buy a gas-powered car, which you cannot refuel after it left the factory? Alternatively, a car that can never be repaired?

In space, most satellites are never serviced (e.g. refuelled, repaired) due to the difficulties of performing such an operation. One of these difficulties is the danger of damaging the satellite, the servicer, or generating debris while performing such operations.

In the past few months, Clean Space has been looking into the definition of safe rendezvous and proximity operations, which would enable the safe operation of two satellites to be serviced. To increase the safety of a process, one has to start with understanding the potential hazards.

By collecting requirements, generalised to be applicable to any servicing operation, Clean Space aims to support European industry in defining safe and responsible rendezvous and close proximity operations. This is a stepping stone towards enabling servicing missions, servicing missions which can be used to extend the lifetime of operational satellites or servicing missions which can also be used to reduce the amount of space debris and keeping space sustainable and accessible for the future.