The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability (SPQR) (TechEdSat-3P) - 05.06.15
The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability - Small Payload Quick Return (TechEdSat-3P) employs a unique drag system, called the Exo-Brake, to de-orbiting a small spacecraft payload. The device enables a spacecraft to use atmospheric drag, rather than a rocket thrusters, to reduce speed for re-entering the atmosphere. Successfully using this process enables larger crafts to save weight and safely return larger payloads to Earth quickly.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
Marcus S. Murbach, M.S., Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
Periklis E. Papadopoulos, Dr, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, United States
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, United States
University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2013 - March 2014
Previous ISS Missions
TechEdSat launched/jettisoned from the ISS on October 4, 2012.
The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability (SPQR) (TechEdSat-3P) studies unique research in free molecular flow drag devices – or ‘ping-pong’ flow since the air molecules are at such low density – just random particles hitting the front surface of the device in the Earth’s Thermosphere.
TechEdSat-3P develops and tests a small scale Exo-Brake and related avionics/navigation system.
TechEdSat-3P enables the routine return of samples from orbital platforms - including the International Space Station (ISS).
The proposed Small Payload Quick Return SPQR (SPQR) effort intends to result in a means of returning small payloads in a temperature and pressure controlled environment back from the International Space Station (ISS). The current 3U cubesat experiment, the TechEdSat-3P 3U cubesat, is the next incremental development step. TechEdSat-3P jettisons from the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) in the same fashion as the successful TechEdSat that was jettisoned in the previous year. The principal objective is to test for the first time, a means of de-orbiting payloads using a tension-based drag device (an 'Exo-Brake'). The current experiment is sized at a scale of 1 m, which would permit re-entry within 7 days. Understanding the thermophysics of such a device would eventually permit it to be scaled for larger payloads and re-entry within 1.5 days. Secondary objectives include the further development of the avionics suite. This includes redundant GPS - Iridium modules which periodically update positional/altitude information which assist in the eventual guidance/targeting of the larger SPQR units. As with the precursor TechEdSat effort, TechEdSat-3P is designed from the onset with important safety features, including two-fault tolerant critical safety features (in particular, use of redundant 'ALI' - Auxiliary Lateral Inhibit switche , which prevent early electrical activation -as well as inhibits pertaining to a jettison anomaly are included). In addition, this is a joint effort with the San Jose State University (California State University system) and the University of Idaho, permitting heavy student participation.
The larger SPQR effort (of which the TechEdSat series represent incremental steps) in general leads to low-cost and quick turnaround de-orbit and re-entry systems. These systems enhance the capability for sample return from Low Earth orbit (LEO). In addition, one of the proposed re-entry technologies required in the next test phase enables small-scale Mars surface missions based on the cubesat technologies being developed.
The investigation helps provide more detailed information on the atmospheric structure of the thermosphere – by comparing and helping to refine models based on the de-orbit experiment data. In addition, the ability to return samples quicky without waiting for a space transport vehicle permits on-orbit investigations to be concluded more efficiently –helping investigations to retrieve experimental samples and data faster for analysis and publication of results.
TechEdSat-3P is deployed from the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) attached to the JEM Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS). The Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) is required for viewing support during deployment from the ISS.
TechEdSat-3P requires ISS Crew to remove the Remove Before Flight (RBF) pin inside the JEM before the J-SSOD is transferred out through the JEM Airlock. The deployment switches then turn on after the satellite is ejected from the J-SSOD in order to prevent inadvertent satellite appendage deployment within the J-SSOD. The JEMRMS is used to retrieve the J-SSOD from the JEM airlock and moves it to the appropriate and safe deployment orientation.
Information Pending^ back to top
Ground Based Results Publications
Murbach MS, Boronowsky KM, Benton JE, White B, Fritzler E. Options for returning payloads from the ISS after the termination of STS flights. 40th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Barcelona, Spain ; 2010 July 11 12 pp.
+ View Larger Image
+ View Larger Image
+ View Larger Image