Deorbitation System – Sail

The main PW-Sat 2 payload will be deorbitation system, which allows faster removal of satellites from their orbit after it completes its mission.

PW-Sat2 spalający się w atmosferze podczas deorbitacji. Autor: Marcin Świetlik

PW-Sat2 burning in the upper layers of the Earth atmosphere during deorbit. Author: Marcin Świetlik

Space debris problem

Deorbitation of satellites is now increasingly hot topic because of still grownig amount of “space debris” in orbit. These so-called space junk includes spent rocket stages, old satellites, and small fragments from the collision of satellites (such as the one in February 10, 2009, when there was a collision between functioning satellite Iridium 33 and inactive satellite Kosmos 2251). As a result of such event a lot of small parts are deployed into space, which are a great threat for operating spacecrafts. Adapting this kind of deorbitation systems into all the spacecrafts would prevent such unfortunate events.

2014-11-24 20_31_59-Current Quarterly News.pdf - Foxit Reader

Our remedy

In PW-Sat 2 deorbitation system will be sail, and more specifically the drag parachute opened behind the satellite. Its task will be to increase the surface of the satellite and thus increase the drag, which in low orbits is still a very significant factor in the deceleration. After testing our other payloads we will send a command to deploy the parachute which will lower the orbit to eventually burn the satellite up in the atmosphere.

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Current works

Jeden z pierwszych prototypów zasobnika, w którym będzie umieszczony zwinięty żagiel - otrzymany za pomocą drukarki 3D

3D printed Sail container prototype

Currently, we are testing the different methods of deploying the parachute. We are considering the ideas of the first PW-Sat, which were assuming opening a Mylar foil with a nitinol wire (shape memory material), but also new ways of deployment using springs. The guiding idea for today is deploying a container with a parachute at a distance from the satellite and the distribution of four autonomus pairs of arms made of flat springs. Each quadrant would hold an independent part of parachute, so that the potential problem in deploying of one of the quadrants would not affect the rest of the system.

Below you may find the photo gallery from August 2014.

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