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Design optimization of a 3-unit satellite de-orbiting mechanism

Author(s): 
Pınar Acar, Melike Nikbay, Alim Rüstem Aslan (Istanbul Technical University)

CHALLENGE - The growth of satellite installation has required the introduction of restrictions in orbital lifetime to prevent space collisions. A suggested 25 years orbital lifetime has brought new attention to de-orbiting mechanisms. In this paper the optimization of a de-orbiting mechanism developed by the Space Systems Design and Testing Laboratory of the Istanbul Technical University and Turksat Inc. for the nano-satellite 3USAT is presented. The main goals are to maximize the aerodynamic drag force providing the shortest de-orbiting time, and spring moment for an easier deployment and faster orbit decay. 

SOLUTION - A de-orbiting system based on spiral springs and a thin membrane for aerodynamic drag has been developed. modeFRONTIER has been used to drive the optimization using a MATLAB in-house code to calculate the system performance. A multi-objective optimization considering drag and moment maximization and mass minimization has been performed considering five input variables and a constraint on maximum stength. Considering the low calculation time the NSGA-II algorithm has been used generating a total of 20000 designs.

 

BENEFITS - modeFRONTIER was able to provide different optimal designs. The best has been chosen and the de-orbit time has been calculated using STK giving a total time of 16.8 years, well below the suggested 25 years giving a reliable and light de-orbiting system.

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