February 24, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

A Satellite Deployed a Drag Sail and Removed Itself from Orbit Five Years Early

In an age of increasing “stuff” orbiting Earth one big concern is what happens if one satellite hits another. The result could be an explosion, or a chain reaction of collisions, or the closure of an orbit. That would be catastrophic. However, a small satellite called SBUDNIC just sent itself back to Earth earlier than expected. It’s goal: to demonstrate a low-cost way to take care of space debris.

SBUDNIC was the brainchild of a group of students at Brown University who were in a “Design of Space Systems” class taught by engineering Professor Rick Fleeter. It was a 3U CubeSat made of off-the-shelf components (including 48 Energizer batteries), a small camera, and a plastic drag sail. It joins a host of other CubeSats used (or proposed for use) at Earth and throughout the Solar System.

The team launched it aboard a SpaceX rocket on May 25, 2022. They communicated with it through a Ham radio-based Arduino prototyping platform. These are commonly used aboard 3U Cubesats due to their light weight and dependability. The idea was to show an affordable deorbit method.

Read more – Universe Today: https://bit.ly/47Yhwf6