DEBIE (Debris In-orbit Evaluator) is a low-cost sensor to monitor sub-millimeter size particulate distribution in near Earth space.

DEBIE sensor units are designed to measure the mass and impact speed of high velocity sub-millimeter particles. These may be of natural origin, such as remnants of comets, asteroids and meteoroids, or they can be man-made debris from spacecrafts. It is important to gather information of their mass and velocity distribution as well as their typical trajectories, because the tiny particles present a potential hazard for spacecraft. Despite the insignificant mass of these dust grains, they have such a high velocity that the impact energy is capable of damaging or destroying parts of a spacecraft.

The first instrument was launched in PROBA-1 satellite in October 2001. The second set of detectors was installed on the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION in February 2008. After one and a half years of successful operation it was returned to Earth in September 2009.

 

See more about PROBA-1 project:

ESA SPACE DEBRIS