PI of ESTCube-2, Science Editor of Space Travel Blog and Associate Professor at UT Tartu Observatory
While the Earth is facing a major catastrophe in terms climate change, low Earth orbit is also heating up with an increasing number of orbital debris. Slavinskis has dedicated 10 years of his career to demonstrate plasma brake deorbiting technology. ESTCube-1 carried the first such experiment but was, unfortunately, not successful. ESTCube-2 is being developed for a 2022 launch and will demonstrate the second-generation plasma brake. By employing an interaction between a charged wire and charged particles in the ionosphere, the plasma brake can lower the altitude 10 faster than it happens naturally thanks to the aerodrag. Slavinskis, who has also worked on FORESAIL-1 and FORESAIL-2 missions in Finland, will introduce the past, present and future of the plasma brake and its big brother – the electric solar wind sail.