Residual air inflated systems for CubeSats

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This paper presents a case for the use of residual air inflated (RAI) structures on CubeSat platforms, focusing on the development of a high altitude, de-orbiting device that utilises this deployment method. Residual air inflation relies on small pockets of air, trapped within a sealed membrane, expanding when the structure is exposed to vacuum. This expansion of trapped air then inflates the membrane. The application of this deployment method for a technology demonstrator, to be flown on a European sounding rocket in March 2014, shall be discussed. The demonstrator is a proposed passive, high altitude, end-of-life, deorbiting system that utilises solar radiation pressure. The development of this device from analysis and design through to construction shall be covered with the particular challenges present
on a CubeSat platform discussed. The paper shall conclude by proposing possible applications of CubeSat based RAI structures and deployment mechanisms, focusing on the potential for deployment mechanisms and debris capture structures.
Original languageEnglish
PagesIAC-13-E2.1.6, p 20306
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2013
Event64th International Astronautical Congress 2013 - Beijing, China
Duration: 23 Sep 201327 Sep 2013


Conference64th International Astronautical Congress 2013


  • CubeSats
  • air inflated systems
  • satellite design


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