Optimised Satellite Sail Deployment Mechanism based on Flexible Pushing Arms

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A. Cornogolub (2020), JBIS, 73, pp.274-277

Refcode: 2020.73.274
Keywords: Sail deployment mechanism, Compressive springs, Rolled booms, Flexible arms

In this paper we present a new design of a satellite sail deployment mechanism, relying on flexible arms for generating the radial force, required for maintaining the booms in a coiled state. The proposed approach simplifies the mechanism, when compared to devices using linear springs + rollers or solid arms + torsional springs, reducing cost and manufacturing time. The system’s performance is assessed by both simulation and experimental work (using a 3D printed prototype). Despite their simplicity, the flexible arms still require careful designing. In order to obtain a certain pushing force their dimensions and position have to be carefully selected. Certain limitations do exist. One should be careful for example that during the deployment process the pushing arms do not cross the deployed segments of the booms, which might generate friction. Also, one should be careful not to exceed the maximal permissible curvature and induce plastic deformations in the arms. The coil requires, for a successful deployment, a certain radial force applied on certain points, which depends on the coil radius and boom’s structure. Using a numerical method the flexible arms are optimized for a deployment mechanism of a 3U CubeSat 8m2 sail. The prototype has been 3D printed and used for demonstrating the proposed concept.

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