A nice satellite for a short time = SkyCube 2meter highly reflective balloon

From: Kevin Fetter (kfetter@yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Jan 03 2014 - 14:38:04 UTC

  • Next message: Leo Wikholm: "Re: A nice satellite for a short time = SkyCube 2meter highly reflective balloon"

    áSomething to keep your eye on.
    The empty gray box shown at the top of the satellite model above is the container that holds SkyCube's balloon.  We will command the ballon to inflate 90 days into the mission.
    Most CubeSats are far too small to see from the ground, but SkyCube will be an exception.  The satellite will carry a tightly-packed balloon, made of 0.35-mil (9 Ám) low-density polyethylene, coated with highly reflective titanium dioxide (TiO2) powder.  During the final phase of the mission, the balloon will be inflated with a 4-gram CO2 cartridge, and expand to a diameter of nearly 7 feet (2 m).  This will make SkyCube brightly visible to millions of people on the ground as it passes over the Earth's twilight regions.
    SkyCube's balloon serves another purpose.  Once it inflates, SkyCube's orbit will decay rapidly due to atmospheric drag.  Less than two weeks after balloon inflation, SkyCube will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and burn up harmlessly.  The balloon lets SkyCube end its mission cleanly, and avoid becoming space debris that could harmfully impact future missions.  SkyCube's balloon was developed by Global Western, an experienced supplier of aerostats for NASA, JPL, and others with unique high-altitude ballooning needs.
    Further details are available in SkyCube's Orbital Debris Assesment Report (ODAR), required by NASA and approved with our FCC license, above.
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