Cost-Effective Deorbit Device for Small Satellites
Many organizations are currently turning to pico- and nano-satellite-based systems such as CubeSats because they can accomplish scientific and other missions at cost levels well below those of traditional large spacecraft. Because of the inherently small sizes of nanosats, however, their proliferation poses a concern in that they are difficult to track, and may be released into altitudes where their orbital lifetimes will exceed the 25 years mandated by current and pending guidelines and regulations.
To enable researchers to continue to take advantage of the responsive and low-cost capabilities of nanosats while meeting orbital debris mitigation requirements, TUI has developed the CubeSat Terminator Tape™, a deorbit module sized and priced for use on nanosatellites and other small spacecraft. The CubeSat Terminator Tape is a flat panel sized to fit on any face of a CubeSat within the 6.5 mm envelope available beyond the rails. At the conclusion of the nanosatellite's mission, a burn-wire release mechanism will actuate the ejection of the nanoTerminator's cover, deploying a 30-m long conductive tape. This tape will induce both enhanced aerodynamic drag and passive electrodynamic drag, accelerating the deorbit of the CubeSat. With the CubeSat Terminator Tape, CubeSat systems can meet 25-year post mission orbital lifetime restrictions at altitudes up to 1000 km.
The CubeSat Terminator Tape includes a break-away pass-through electrical connections for solar cells.
Fig. 1. Illustration of a CubeSat Terminator Tape™ integrated onto a 1U CubeSat.
Fig. 2. The CubeSat Terminator Tape™.
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