Catcher's Mitt Final Report
DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY ARLINGTON VA ARLINGTON United States
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The Catchers Mitt study was conducted to evaluate the need for, and the technical feasibility of, reducing the amount of orbital debris via active removal. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA with support from the Orbital Debris Office at NASA reached out to the aerospace community through a U.S. Government roundtable series, a Request for Information RFI, and an international conference in order to explore the full range of possible solutions. These concepts were evaluated by a team of experts in the field and condensed into a set of practical options to be considered for a new DARPA program. Although there are many policy issues which need to be addressed related to orbital debris removal, the Cathers Mitt study focused on the technical challenges of the problem. A variety of potential methods were examined for addressing the problem of orbital debris, and active debris removal was found to be required at some point to maintain an acceptable level of operational risk. Although projections show that it may take decades for the risk to become unbearable, this report outlines several reasons to begin development of a solution today.