Vestigo Aerospace Awarded Phase I SBIR

Spinnaker 1 Dragsail Drawing

Vestigo Aerospace LLC has been selected for a NASA Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award. Vestigo is partnering with the Purdue University Space Flight Projects Laboratory on the Phase I investigation. Through the six-month study, the team will advance dragsail technolology for the deorbit of small satellites and launch vehicle stages.

The safe disposal of space objects upon mission completion is necessary to preserve the utility of high-value orbits. It is forecasted that up to 2,600 nanosatellites and microsatellites will be launched into orbit over the next five years, and plans for large commercial constellations have the potential to add thousands of satellites to the low-Earth orbit environment. Vestigo Aerospace is developing a product line of dragsails to address the need for deorbit capability as an alternative to conventional propulsion systems. The team will also investigate the use of dragsails for targeted reentry of space objects, to reduce the uncertainty in atmospheric reentry corridors and debris impact zones.

Eileen Dukes, Chief Technology Officer of Vestigo Aerospace, is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the SBIR study. Dr. Alina Alexeenko, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is the Purdue University lead for the investigation. Graduate student Ariel Black and spacecraft laboratory manager Anthony Cofer will support the study.

Vestigo Aerospace is an engineering startup company founded in 2019 by Dr. David Spencer, an Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue. Vestigo has been supported by the Purdue Foundry and the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.