The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability-Small Payload Quick Return (TechEdSat-6) - 11.15.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability-Small Payload Quick Return (TechEdSat-6) tests a non-propulsive Exo-Brake to de-orbit a small spacecraft payload. Its goal is to perfect a technology to efficiently return small samples from orbit back to Earth, which may speed up the execution of microgravity research and its findings. Upon improving on previous models TechEdSat-3, TechEdSat-4, and TechEdSat-5, TechEdSat-6 is built with improved software and packaging to deploy and de-orbit in a tidy fashion.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Marcus S. Murbach, M.S., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Marcus S. Murbach, M.S., NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Ali Guarneros-Luna, M.S., Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Developer(s)
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)

Sponsoring Organization
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)

Research Benefits
Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2017 - February 2018

Expeditions Assigned
53/54

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability-Small Payload Quick Return (TechEdSat-6) permits unique research in free molecular flow drag devices also known as ‘ping-pong’ flow since the air molecules are at such low density, essentially random particles hit the front surface of the device in the Earth’s thermosphere.
  • The test of Exo-Brake includes improved 2nd tier software, improved packaging and future module for ‘disposal’ of nanosats, a low ballistic coefficient (approximately 5 kg/m2), and a modulated Exo-Brake.
  • TechEdSat-6 improves direct drag measurement, tests an independent wireless sensor module, fine modulation control, experimental guidance, navigation, and control (GNC), improved targeting/concept of operations (CONOPS), and improvement of recession data on the nosecap.
  • The investigation will also test its Consortium Ubiquitous Technologies (CUBIT) nano-sat radio-frequency identification (RF-ID) capability. A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) experiment for future nano-satellite identification is pending.

Description

The basic 3.5 U design for The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability-Small Payload Quick Return (TechEdSat-6) differs from the TechEdSat-5 design in that a basic aluminum (T-6060) extrusion is used, but the length is adjusted to the accepted 400 mm length compatible with the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD). The approximate mass is 3.60 kg. On the TechEdSat-6 front end, the direction of flight is indicated by the Teflon cap labeled ‘front end’, protects the GPS/Iridium dual-patch antennas just like in the previous TES-5 and 4 designs. This improves Global Positioning System (GPS)/Iridium reception/locking. The second Iridium (Iridium-B, associated with the level 2 functionality) remains on one of the side-mounted locations and is used during the terminal re-entry phase.
 
The internal design and structure remains essentially the same as TechEdSat-5 and -4. After removal of the Remove Before Flight (RBF) screw, TechEdSat-6 is loaded into the NRCSD. At that point, three Auxiliary Lateral Inhibit (ALI) switches provide the two-fault tolerant design to inhibit inadvertent power from initiating the system. Structural fasteners use at least two inhibits—at least two of three: torque specification, locking nut, or Loctite-243.
 
The software is also similar to the previous TechEdSat-5 design. The PWR Level 1 software has similar but more robust function such as second initiator pulses should the Exo-Brake actuators not deploy the first time. This uses the Arduino Pro-Mini (processor: Atmel Mega328P) board which controls the Iridium-A, actuators, and ultimately the upper level function. The upper level, or ‘Nominal’ mode, software is almost identical to TechEdSat-5, and runs in the Intel/Edison environment. This controls the GPS and Iridium-B functionality.
 
As before, the pc-boards are conformal-coated and the harnesses/wires staked with the same approved materials. All testing, interface control document (ICD) and safety verification are conducted via the same procedures, and captured in the integrated TechEdSat-6 Test/Verification Document (T6P6-06-XT001) Environmental_Master Test Report.

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Applications

Space Applications
The overall small payload quick return (SPQR) effort is to improve de-orbit and re-entry capabilities. The technology behind TechEdSat aims to enhance the capability by which samples are returned to earth and may be used from low-Earth orbit for future space station experiments to experimental orbiting manufacturing facilities. Upon perfecting free molecular flow drag devices, these may be used in small, future Mars surface missions.

Earth Applications
The investigation provides detailed information on the atmospheric structure of the thermosphere, which helps refine future de-orbiting models. The technology’s ability to return on-orbit samples efficiently allows for the execution of more investigations and more findings whether in gravitational biology and/or unique materials development. The Exo-Brake also prevents unnecessary space debris from accumulating by de-orbiting satellites at end-of-mission.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
TechEdSat-6 is deployed from the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) attached to the JEM Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS). TechEdSat-6 is part of an OA-8 NanoRacks NRCSD (NanoRacks Cube Sat Deployer) payload on the JEM MPEP (Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform) pallet. TechEdSat-6 has multiple deployment switches that are turned on only after the satellite is ejected from the NRCSD in order to prevent inadvertent satellite appendage deployment within the deployer (i.e., the Exo-Brake).

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
ABC-News interview with the student team
About TechEdSat

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Imagery

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The J-SSOD CubeSat deployer ejecting the TechEdSat-3P (3-U cubesat unit). The satellites are deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo. The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability-Small Payload Quick Return (TechEdSat-6) is jettisoned using the recently developed NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer, or NRCSD. Image courtesy of NASA.

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The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability-Small Payload Quick Return (TechEdSat-6) is the third development flight test of an Exo-Brake non-propulsive, drag-based de-orbit system. The nano-satellite is a triple cubesat (3U) with a set of dual advanced avionics systems powered by the previous core power system. This flight focuses on uplink command capability, and fine control of the Exo-Brake (drag-modulation) to permit accurate non-propulsive de-orbit for the first time. Image courtesy of NASA Ames TechEdSat.

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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, Expedition 33 flight engineer, works near the airlock with the Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD) in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. In place of J-SSODs is the NanoRacks 48U dispenser. Image courtesy of NASA.

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The Development of On-Demand Sample Return Capability-Small Payload Quick Return (TechEdSat-6) assembly after Exo-Brake deployment (direction of flight). Image courtesy of NASA Ames TechEdSat.

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