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  • Satellite Evolution

De-orbit Drag Device (D3) successfully placed in orbit by NanoRacks

Orbotic Systems today announced the De-orbit Drag Device (D3) was deployed on September 6th, 2022 at 5:10 eastern time. D3 was successfully placed in orbit by the NanoRacks NRCSD CubeSat deployer, which is mounted on the International Space Station.

D3 Gold

The D3 represents a breakthrough in space debris remediation technology, capable of de-orbiting and manoeuvring a satellite without dangerous rocket fuel. This is the second major milestone for Orbotic Systems in a two-month period. The deployment of the D3 occurs on the same week that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a plan to minimize space junk. The new rule will require Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to be de-orbited no more than five years after being taken out of service.

"The D3 can be mounted to a satellite before launch, allowing satellite operators to safely manoeuvre and de-orbit their spacecraft at the end of the mission lifecycle. This is a cost-effective de-orbiting solution that will enable SmallSats to conform to the new FCC five-year rule for removing dead satellites," says Erik T. Long, CEO at Orbotic Systems. "A bonus to using the D3, is the ability to manoeuvre without dangerous propellant while identifying individual satellites in a constellation. This technology is the first of its kind to come to the commercial market and is an economical solution for SmallSat manufacturers and operators."

The D3 CubeSat spacecraft is currently in Low Earth Orbit and is beaconing a signal at 437.08 MHz for those who want to track the D3 satellite. Updates are welcome and you can send tracking data to with the time and location. The Orbotic Systems team is awaiting a NORAD catalog number assignment. When that occurs, we will have further information on the spacecraft's current orbit. The "D3" was selected by the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative and this deployment was part of the ELaNa-45 mission.

"After nearly two years of concerted effort, we are ready to release our first product to mitigate space debris. Unrivalled and unique, our D3 technology will allow satellite operators to inexpensively manoeuvre, orientate, and de-orbit their spacecraft without any explosive propellant. The D3 does 80% of what rockets do at 10% of the cost."


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