E.T.PACK-F: A Ready-to-Fly Deorbit Device Based on Electrodynamic Tether Technology Projects uri icon


  • European Research Project


  • 101058166

date/time interval

  • September 1, 2022 - February 28, 2025


  • Electrodynamic tethers are long conductors in orbit that enable spacecraft to de-orbit and/or re-boost without using propellant. After designing, manufacturing and testing a prototype of a Deorbit Device (DD) in the FET E.T.PACK project and reach TRL 4, E.T.PACKF faces the next natural step: prepare a ready-to-fly DD based on electrodynamic tether technology to perform, immediately after the
    project, an in-orbit-demonstration (IOD). The two large companies of the team (SENER Aeroespacial and RFA), playing the roles of DD product developer and end-user, signed a Launch Service Agreement for this first flight. The DD involves several tether-related products that have, by their own, a high innovative and commercialization potential and are mainly owned/generated by the three universities of the team (UC3M, UNIPD, TUD). These products are a software for tether mission analysis, a heater-less electron emitter for electric propulsion applications, a cold gas system, miniaturized avionics, and onboard software for the attitude determination and control of small spacecraft, and a deployment mechanism and damper for tether applications. In parallel with technology development activities, a business model for E.T.PACK-F technologies and consortium structures for their later commercialization (a Joint Venture, startup, and /or technology licensing) will be created. Contact with potential clients, investors, and policy-makers, will be established to validate the business model and prepare the products for the future needs of the market. This entrepreneurial ecosystem, made of interlinked space products, strong industry-academia collaboration, and an end user, is driven by the IOD, which can place all the products in a precommercial state. Tethers can help Europe to create/strengthen new markets on space debris deorbiting and in-orbit servicing, disrupt the existing markets on spacecraft re-boost and station keeping, and open new opportunities for planetary explorations.


  • aerospace engineering; business models; space