A conceptual circular system to create value from space debris
Space Vulture is a scientific paper published at the 8th European Conference on Space Debris of the European Space Agency (ESA) 2021, exploring the role of a life-centred design approach to innovation in addressing wicked problems, such as space debris. Space debris is a major threat to modern society that is barely recognised, where the smallest pieces of debris can render whole satellites defunct. Current innovations are predominantly technological or managerial. Space debris, however, is a systemic problem that requires global action, and here Space Vulture considers it as not only an engineering problem, but rather an incentives problem with social and cultural implications. In the paper, a conceptual circular system for space debris removal is proposed, which combines recent technological developments to create a valuable resource out of space debris and incentivises its removal.