We are a group of mostly engineers with an enthusiasm for space. We are currently involved in a number of projects including the development of the UKube1 programme.
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The StrathSat-R experiment shall act as a demonstrator for two student developed technologies; both utilising an inflatable structures deploying from a CubeSat module, after ejection from a sounding rocket. The University of Strathclyde’s StrathSEDS group were selected for this opportunity as part of the REXUS/BEXUS programme (German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) and European Space Agency (ESA) initiative).
One demonstrator, SAM (Self-inflating Adaptive Membrane), shall deploy an inflated membrane consisting of two layers of spheres. By using micro-pumps to move air from spheres on the top layer to spheres in the same position in the bottom layer, it is hoped that that the shape can be controlled and changed. This unique architecture could lead to structures which can adapt to various space mission stages or environmental conditions.
The other demonstrator, FRODO (Foldable Reflective system for Omnialtitude De-Orbiting), shall deploy a large, reflective, pyramidal sail to demonstrate a possible passive de-orbiting system for high altitude CubeSats. By utilising solar radiation pressure, the J2 effect and aerodynamic drag, Cubesats could have de-orbiting capability’s from far beyond the influence of Earth’s atmosphere. FRODO shall test the inflation in milli-gravity and near vacuum conditions, assess the behaviour of the device during re-entry and validate the passive attitude control of the device, as the concept includes passive sun-pointing capability for the device in orbit.
Key to the demonstrators is the passive inflation method which relies upon the expansion of residual air, inside deflated elements, expanding when exposed to the milli-pressure environment.