Dispatches from the Empire

Airbus Launches Device to Prevent Dead Satellites from Tumbling

Detumbler is a magnetic damping device that’s meant to be attached to a satellite that’s nearing the end of its life, according to Airbus. Weighing around 100 grams, Detumbler has a central rotor wheel and magnets that interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, which prevents unwanted motion when defunct satellites start to tumble. The device is designed to behave like a compass when the satellite is flying normally in its orbit, aligning with Earth’s magnetic field. If it begins to tumble, however, the movement of the rotor will trigger eddy currents (loops of electrical current within conductors induced by a changing magnetic field) and cause friction to slow down the motion.