With funding from an Air Force SBIR, MMA developed and successfully demonstrated a system to remove satellites from orbit — the dragNET De-orbit System. dragNET can be added to an existing spacecraft late in the integration stage and is easily scalable to various classes of vehicles.
The dragNET de-orbit system consists of compactly stowed, thin membranes that release using a single heater-powered actuator and stow in a box the size of a shoebox. Deployment is powered by releasing stored spring energy acting through articulating booms, and once tensioned, the 14 square-meter membranes create the necessary resistance to passively deorbit the spacecraft or launch vehicle. Although it only weighs about six pounds, the system can bring down a 181 kg, ESPA-class spacecraft from altitudes of about 850 km.
The Stand-Off Mechanism (SOM) is a deployable structure with space flight heritage. It provides payload clearance for applications where a fixed bracket is not feasible. The SOM uses a Frangibolt assembly for release and deploys to a height of approximately 8 inches using energy stored in folded tape springs. The typical payload is MMA’s dragNET De-Orbit Module; however, the SOM can be scaled for use with other payloads.
FalconSAT-7 launched in June of 2019 with the aim of imaging the sun. The deployment system consists of a pop-up platform and articulating booms which are powered by stored strain energy. It deploys an optical membrane (photon sieve) from a Nanosat-sized spacecraft, and tensions it at a critical location to enable imaging operations.
Mechanically simple with low-parts count, our deployable optic design combines novel use of proven deployment concepts and optomechanical features to accurately deploy a kinematic metering structure supporting a reflective optic. The PlanetFinder Mirror is scalable and can be expanded to enable future astronomy and earth-imaging missions.
The deployable boom is a bolt-on system with integral launch restraint and controlled deployment capability. Powered by our unique Tape Deployer Assembly, it features expansion ratios up to 100:1 and stow volumes down to a 1U form factor. Because this boom is a periodic trussed structure, custom-length booms can be realized by simply adding or removing bays. The scalable system can be used individually or as a building block to enable mission-critical systems such as antennas, solar arrays, tip-mounted instruments, and areal membranes.
Building on other deployables expertise, MMA developed an innovative sunshade that fits a larger optical payload in a smaller fairing than currently possible. The sunshade accommodates the S/C and fairing geometries better than other state-of-the-art systems which utilize non-deployable shade/baffle structures. Further cost savings are realized because these can be developed rapidly. This new technology reduces system costs while maintaining mission utility, flexibility and capability.
Download our dragNET Data Sheet
Big ideas in small packages
When innovation is the life blood of your organization, ideas come in all shapes and sizes. Our missions have enabled big science, big data and even helped to clean up space with ingeniously packaged solutions.