Brushless DC motors help to spring clean Space.

Satellite technology is advancing at a rapid pace with the help of maxon DC motors. Coupled with the technological improvements in our lifestyle though is an issue that is fast needing attention.  Overcrowding in Space. Disposal of the satellites is complex however with the maxon brushless DC motor and innovative thinking, engineers have devised a novel way to safely clear the air.

Satellites orbit the Earth with a life-span of 10 to 20 years. After the mission is complete the satellite continues to orbit bringing a risk of collision and damage from fragments of expired satellites.  The Surrey Space Centre within the University of Surrey in England have developed a large sail that attaches to a satellite, able to withstand weights of up to 700kgs, called the Inflatesail.

There is a small inflatable mast that when deployed extends four carbon outriggers to stabilise the sail. The sail is unfolded by a maxon brushless DC motor, combined with a 16mm planetary gearhead. The sail basically pulls the satellite toward Earth until it reaches a point where it eventually burns up in the atmosphere.

With a diameter of 16mm the brushless DC drive has ceramic elements to protect the DC motor against decay and serve the lengthy life-span needed in specialist aerospace projects.

Currently in the testing phase, the first devices will be launched next year as part of the QB50 nanosatellite project. Using the solar winds the satellite will be thrust through space. After a period of one year the satellite will be controlled to safely crash and burn-up in the atmosphere and if successful, the Inflatesail could then be manufactured on a commercial basis.

For more information please contact +61 2 9457 7477.

BELOW: maxon brushless DC motor and maxon GP 16mm planetary gearhead featured in the Inflatesail.

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Brushless DC motor in the sail extender. Image © Surrey Space Centre



About maxon motor Australia

maxon motor is the world’s leading supplier of high-precision drive systems. More than 40 years’ experience, constant innovation, top-quality products and competent customer service make maxon motor a reliable partner in the drive technology sector. We are driven by your specific requirements. The product range incorporated in the modular system is comprehensive: Brushed and Brushless DC motors with the unique ironless maxon winding Flat motors with iron cores Planetary gears, spur gears and special gears Sensors (encoders, DC tachos, resolvers) Servo amplifiers, position controllers and control electronics High-tech CIM and MIM components Customer specific drive solutions. maxon motor is a Swiss company headquartered in Sachseln (Central Switzerland) that employs more than 2000 staff worldwide. With 14 sales companies based in over 30 countries, sales partners in another 10 countries and with six production sites, maxon motor are able to provide locally-based and competent customer service. maxon motor helps provide innovative solutions at competitive prices for numerous applications in various markets, such as Medical technology, Industrial automation and robotics, Aerospace industry, Automotive industry, Communication, Consumer applications, Inspection and Instrumentation and Safety engineering. maxon motor Australia is based in Mt Kuring-Gai NSW and our staff will be happy to help you with all your DC motor and technical enquiries.

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