Space Ball is a robotically deployable microsat, to be released from a larger space platform - such as the International Space Station. This approach allows for an opportunistic approach to space utilization. The concept includes a parachute, which would act to bring the microsat body to planet more quickly than a conventional de-orbit. It allows for measurements at altitudes above the stratosphere, similar to those achieved using sounding rockets, but with enhanced data capture duration.
A small (<50 kg) autonomous space package to be robotically released from a space platform, such as the International Space Station (ISS). It will consist of an instrument package, on-board communications, position sensing (GPS), computer, power and attitude control systems.
Space Ball development has proceeded to concept finite element stage, using our FE first approach - listing & FE design The design process is to generate a simple FE model, in advance of the CAD model. This approach offers early weight saving opportunity. A truly minimal structure is developed, and only necessary structural additions are made. It is easier to add structure at preliminary design stage, than to remove it at detailed design stage.
The time from release to destruction is shown, as a function of release velocity, for two drag areas: CdA of 0.5 m2 and 5.0 m2
|Purpose||To gather and transmit atmospheric science, hypersonic aerodynamic or planetary observation data over a period of approximately 1 month from a series orbits initially similar that of its storage platform|
|Basis||Utilize storage space platform to provide launch platform for scientific, engineering, military and commercial observations.|
|Patent||US Patent No. 6,869,048|