iSEDE demonstrator on high altitude balloon BEXUS : inflatable satellite encompassing disaggregated electronics

Sinn, Thomas and de Franca Queiroz, Tiago and Brownlie, Frazer and Leite, Larissa and Allan, Andrew and Rowan, Adam and Gillespie, Jonathan (2013) iSEDE demonstrator on high altitude balloon BEXUS : inflatable satellite encompassing disaggregated electronics. In: 64th International Astronautical Congress 2013, 2013-09-23 - 2013-09-27.

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    Abstract

    Traditional satellites have a rigid structure defining the basic configuration of the satellite and holding in place all subsystems. A variation of the shape or configuration of the satellite is normally achieved through the use of deployable structures or appendices (antennas, solar arrays, booms, etc.). Although modern structural solutions are modular and multifunctional, the structure of a satellite still represents a significant portion of its mass and a limitation on the achievable configuration, extension of deployable components and packing efficiency during launch. The goal of this project is to design and build an initial prototype of an all-inflatable satellite with disaggregated electronics for deployment on-board a BEXUS balloon as proof of concept. The idea is to use inflatable cell structures as support for all the subsystems composing a typical nano-satellite. Each subsystem and component is mounted on a different cell. Cells are both individually inflated and individually controlled. The aim is to design and build an inflatable satellite, demonstrating the deployment, communication among components and local control enabling structure shape adaption via soft robotic actuators and micro pumps. The experiment will deploy two inflatable structures made of 5x2 cells which are packed in a 10x10x10cm3 cubesat reaching a size of 70x18x14cm3 once deployed. Flexible circuitry was used to mount all the electronic subsystems on the surface of the folded inflatable. The experiment will be flown onboard the BEXUS16 stratospheric balloon to an altitude of 29km for 2-5 hours from the Swedish space port ESRANGE in October 2013.