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Testing the Deployment and Rollout of the Deployable for Recovery through Atmospheric Gravity Entry (DragEN) Electrodynamic Tether for CubeSats

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Testing the Deployment and Rollout of the Deployable for Recovery through Atmospheric Gravity Entry (DragEN) Electrodynamic Tether for CubeSats

The purpose of this parabolic flight campaign is to validate the Saber Astronautics DragEN tether deployer in order to minimize the risk of anomalies during spaceflight. The DragEN (Deployable for Recovery through Atmospheric Gravity ENtry) is an electrodynamic tether deployer which enables responsible de-orbit for a CubeSat at the end of its mission life. Current drawn from the tether reaction to the space environment also provides an extra source of electric power. This saves the CubeSat from becoming space junk, while simultaneously giving a small power boost in the last two weeks of life. The tether can also give data on upper atmospheric plasma and space environment, inferred from current drawn on the tether as the CubeSat orbit decays. This simple approach allows upper atmospheric data to be collected at an altitude not easily observed otherwise.

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