Munich | Bucharest

Taking giant leaps towards NewSpace

Mai 2021

D-Orbit (Italy) and HPS (Germany, Romania) agree on flight for ADEO on ION Satellite Carrier in June 2021

After 6 years of development, including a zero-G parabolic campaign and a first test flight end 2018 with Rocket Lab’s ELECTRON, HPS signed on 30.04.2021 the contract with D-Orbit for the flight of the ADEO-N, named „Show me your Wings“, on the space logistics company’s orbital tranportation vehicle ION Satellite Carrier. The launch of the „Wild Ride“ Mission will take place already summer this year from a launch site in USA.


ADEO, the world’s only industrial NewSpace drag sail of its kind for the multiple accelerated return of retired satellites, is available from HPS in different versions tailored to the size and weight of the spacecraft in question. In this case, it is one of the smallest versions, weighing less than one kilogram, with dimensions of only 10x10x10 centimeters and a sail area of 3.6 square meters. It has been integrated directly into the ION platform at D-Obit now, mid May. ION is a space vehicle that can transport satellites in orbit and release them individually into distinct orbital slots. At the end of the nominal ION-mission, in front of its „eyes“ of the integrated cameras, the ADEO braking sail module unfolds, shows its „wings“ and leads ION to residue-free disposal by incineration in the atmosphere much quicker than without the sail. The first 100 km of descent will be monitored intensively.


HPS CEO Ernst K. Pfeiffer is convinced that ADEO came at exactly the right time to promote sustainable NewSpace development by avoiding the threat of apocalyptic space debris scenarios, despite rapidly growing constellations. In this context, Pfeiffer emphasizes the excellent R&D support provided by engineers and test facilities of the DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen, as well as the various economic development support contracts and grants provided by ESA, DLR and the Free State of Bavaria.


The implementation of the technology developed by HPS’s NewSpace Team at Munich headquarters was largely supported by the hands of engineers and technicians of the Romanian subsidiary and Romanian workshops. This is now, according to Pfeiffer, our clear advantage having all in one company: heritage from institutional space, a tailored „internal start-up department“, a steadily growing house in Bucharest and several trustful development and production partners. New and expanded challenges to innovation and manufacturing are already waiting.


According to Renato Panesi, co-founder and CCO of D-Orbit: „We are very happy to have a chance to work with HPS on this project: sustainability in general has always been a relevant aspect of our identity, and with HPS we share a common vision aiming to a sustainable access to space. Being able to help HPS to test a new and innovative technology like ADEO to help control the increment of space debris is a point of pride for us. To HPS is reserved the grand finale of the mission and, while we are going to „enjoy the ride“, we are really looking forward to it“.