The big Space spring clean
The European Conference on Space Debris recently highlighted an urgent need to start removing redundant objects out of orbit. Unless items are eliminated, collisions will be inevitable and space will become extremely hazardous. maxon motor uk has been working with the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) on their experimental solution.
The Surrey Space Centre‘s (SSC) drag deorbiting sail project, Inflatesail, contains two experimental structural components. The first is an inflatable rigidisable mast and the second is an ultra-lightweight polymer sail. The sail is supported by four custom manufactured ‘bistable’ carbon fibre booms which are wound around a central hub. maxon motor GP 16C planetary gearheads, combined with 16mm brushless DC motors from the maxon EC-max family, are used to drive and control the deployment of the booms. The ceramic components are wear and corrosion resistant for longer life and enable stability over a wide range of temperatures. The brushless DC motor and gearhead are fitted with high performance Braycote grease, which is non-flammable, suitable for extreme temperatures, is chemically inert and designed to be used in a deep space vacuum.
Dr Andrew Viquerat, Research Fellow at the SCC said ‚We have worked with maxon for a number of years, and continue to do so because of the reliability of the products. Some of our requirements are slightly unusual, and the people at maxon have been helpful and interested in helping us address them. In particular, we require DC motors which work in vacuum and at high temperatures.‘.