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SSTL Returns TechDemoSat-1 to Earth

By Annamarie Nyirady | May 31, 2019
Photo: SSTL

Photo: SSTL

Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) successfully deployed the de-orbit drag sail on-board TechDemoSat-1. The deployment of the Icarus-1 drag sail, which was supplied by Cranfield University, marks the end of mission operations for SSTL’s TechDemoSat-1 small satellite which was launched into a 635 kilometer Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in 2014.

TechDemoSat-1, a 150 kilogram in-orbit technology demonstration small satellite mission, validated 8 U.K. spacecraft instruments and software payloads and also acquired ocean wind speed datasets using GNSS reflectometry. The deployed sail measures approximately 6.7 meters squared and is designed to significantly increase the spacecraft’s rate of orbital decay, in compliance with current Space Debris Mitigation best practice and guidelines.

Stephen Hobbs, Head of Cranfield University’s Space Group, commented “At Cranfield we are delighted to see our Icarus de-orbit technology demonstrated successfully in orbit – again. With the Icarus sails now deployed on both TechDemoSat-1 and Carbonite-1, SSTL and Cranfield have demonstrated clear leadership in this technology. We hope to see many more satellites following TechDemoSat-1’s example to keep space clear of debris. It’s been great to work with SSTL on this mission.”