Review of Active Space Debris Removal Methods

C. Priyant Mark, Surekha Kamath

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


This article gives an overview of the active space debris removal methods that are currently in development. Orbital debris removal has become a very critical part of the commercial and scientific space management. It is an aggregating risk which needs to be immediately addressed to prevent loss of spacecraft to debris collision. The various concepts and methods which tend to bring the accumulating risk to a halt have been classified and reviewed. They are classified into collective, laser-based, ion-beam shepherd-based, tether-based, sail-based, satellite-based, unconventional, and dynamical systems-based methods. The dynamical systems-based method is a contemporary concept, which is developing at a rapid pace. Recent trends were analyzed to ascertain the evolution of the active space debris removal programs. State-of-the-art methods are essentially required to address the various sizes of space debris that need to be removed. This brings a huge opportunity in the area, which includes discovering commercially viable options, cleaning orbital regions, and optimizing crowded satellite orbits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-206
Number of pages13
JournalSpace Policy
Publication statusPublished - 01-02-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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