Thursday, 24 November 2011

SAM got shortlisted for the upcoming REXUS campaign

SAM got recently shortlisted for REXUS (Rocket-borne Experiments for University Students), a DLR/SNSB/ESA funded programme that gives student teams the possibility to launch experiments on sounding rockets into micro gravity (100km altitude). SAM will be on one of two cube satellites as part of the StrathSat-R experiment deployed from the sounding rocket. The Selection Workshop will take place from the 5th to the 9th of December at ESA ESTEC in Noordwijk (NL).

Description of the experiment StrathSat-R:
For the success of future space missions involving large space structure, the development of new deployable structures and the improvement of current designs are of great importance. StrathSEDS, a sub-division of UKSEDS at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK), developed StrathSat-R therefore to validate different inflation deployment techniques in space conditions. The StrathSat-R experiment consists of two distinct sections that are based on a 1U cube satellite (10x10x10 cm3) outline. The primary objective of both satellites is to deploy a structure in micro-gravity by using inflation. After inflation, the two free-flying units have different specific objectives: The aim of the first cube satellite, FRODO (Foldable Reflective system for Omnialtitude De-Orbiting ), is to deploy and then rigidise a large reflective sail from a 1U cube satellite sized pod. After the deployment of the reflective sail, the de-orbiting manoeuvre takes place completely passively. This research could open up new high altitude orbital regimes for future pico- and nanosatellite missions. The scientific objective of the second cube satellite, SAM (Self-inflating Adaptive Membrane), is to serve as a technology demonstrator for the residual air deployment method with a novel hexagon element design approach. The big advantage of the hexagonal element approach is that a structure can be obtained which is simultaneously stiff and flexible due to the stiff pillow elements and the flexible seam lines. The second goal of this endeavour is to develop a structure that can adapt itself to various environmental conditions. For example, the structure could serve as a substructure for a solar concentrator and adjust its focal point autonomously by changing the curvature of the entire structure. Both cube satellites will be recovered after impact with the ground.

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