Astro Digital Partner With Astroscale For On-Orbit Docking Plates

7th Aug 2023
Astro Digital Partner With Astroscale For On-Orbit Docking Plates

US-based small satellite developer Astro Digital will use Astroscale’s in-orbit docking plates. Astroscale’s Generation 2 docking plates will be integrated with Astro Digital’s modular satellite bus starting in Q4 2024. This docking plate will be installed on the satellites in order to aid it’s end-of-life servicing mission.  

Andrew Faiola, Commercial Director of Astroscale, said: “we are excited to deliver our Gen 2 Docking Plate to Astro Digital … Equipping their platforms with the Astroscale Docking Plate demonstrates leadership among bus manufacturers to provide a spacecraft that is ready for potential servicing or removal, allowing satellite operators to remain flexible and act responsibly in space.”

The Agreement Between Astroscale & Astro Digital

Astroscales smallsat gen 2 docking plate
Source: Astroscale

Astroscale announced the availability of its Gen 2 plate and signed an agreement with the French national space agency in June 2023. Astro Digital its first announced commercial user for the plate.

Further into the future, Astro Digital aspires to integrate the docking plate across their fleet of small CubeSat spacecraft. Thus, ensuring servicing and deorbiting missions can be conducted in a: “move towards [more] responsible satellite operations.”

Chris Biddy, CEO of Astro Digital, added: “we see space debris mitigation as a crucial activity for sustainable space. Incorporating Astroscale’s Docking Plate into our satellite bus design supports our goals of being responsible operators. The simple and compatible design allows easy integration, making it straightforward for… our customers to keep space sustainability alongside their day-to-day operations.”

Committing To A Sustainable Space

Source: Astroscale

With an eye toward more sustainable space operations, the docking plate will make servicing or deorbiting missions simpler. Astroscale said the plate is compatible with magnetic and mechanical docking methods. Therefore, to perform the servicing or deorbiting process, Astroscale’s servicer module will begin by docking onto the 15 cm plate. The servicer will then either perform the necessary repairs to extend the satellites lifespan, or, prepare the spacecraft for reentry. Astroscale said their: “docking Plate sets a new benchmark for on-orbit servicing and promises to usher in a new era of responsible, sustainable and smart satellite operations in space.”

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