Via Satellite presents its annual Satellite Technology of the Year award to companies that develop and deploy the most impactful satellite-related products and services available to the market. Via Satellite measures that impact in a number of ways when considering products and services for nominations.
A Satellite Technology of the Year award candidate could represent a significant technological breakthrough when compared to previous products. It could also represent a product that has achieved remarkable financial success in a competitive landscape. All nominations must have achieved operational status during the year, or available for customers through contracts and service agreements.
The winner of the award will be determined by a public vote combined with the votes of the Via Satellite editorial board. The winner will be announced during the Via Satellite awards luncheon on Wednesday, March 23, at the SATELLITE 2022 conference in Washington, D.C. Voting is open online from Feb. 22 to 12 p.m. on March 22 and can be accessed at satellitetoday.com/vote. The 2021 Technology of the Year nominees are (in alphabetical order by company name):
Astroscale, End-of-Life Services by Astroscale Demonstration (ELSA-d) Spacecraft Platform
After its launch in March 2021, ELSA-d, operated by Japanese space startup Astroscale, became the world’s first active mission dedicated to demonstrating the core capabilities necessary for space debris docking and removal. ELSA-d’s mission itinerary involves a long list of extremely challenging or entirely unprecedented maneuvers in space. It must fulfill Astroscale’s promise of a full Active Debris Removal (ADR) service that includes client spacecraft search, inspection, rendezvous, and both tumbling and non-tumbling docking.
ELSA-d consists of both a servicer satellite and a client satellite that were launched into space stacked on top of each other. The servicer satellite is equipped with proximity rendezvous technologies and a magnetic docking mechanism designed to safely remove debris objects from orbit. In less than a year in space, the ELSA-d has already set operational benchmarks for future rendezvous and proximity missions and has successfully tested its ability to capture and release the client spacecraft. ELSA-d’s success will pave the way for Astroscale’s next multi-client (ELSA-M) servicer,