Hub-Mounted Motor Deployment of Spacecraft Booms

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The smaller payload and lower price tag of small satellites reduce the cost of space missions and allow for more experimentation with the technology. They enable a wide range of activities to further space exploration and research. Small satellites can weigh anywhere between 0.001 kg and 180 kg and naturally have tight volume constraints, making it difficult to integrate solar sails, drag sails, flexible arrays, antennas, and science instruments. With the increasing popularity of small satellites, there's a need for better ways of deploying these for end of mission deorbiting.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a hub-mounted motor design for spacecraft boom deployment. The deployment motors are mounted internally within rotor hubs, saving volume. Unlike existing designs, this technology does not rely on stored strain energy for boom deployment or externally-mounted motors that require additional spacecraft volume. Motor deployment is preferable because the rate of deployment can be controlled, and torque provided by the motor can help to drive out the booms if friction is an issue.

-Internally-mounted rotors
-Does not require stored strain energy
-Rate of deployment can be controlled

Potential Applications:
-Small satellites
Oct 24, 2019
Utility Patent
United States

Oct 24, 2018
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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