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