This paper presents the design and characterization of a miniature docking mechanism for nanosatellites. Potential applications are several, including servicing of orbital vehicles (e.g. refuelling, components replacement, deorbiting or reboosting) and assembly of large structures (e.g. telescopes, antennas). The mechanism responds to the constant demand of enabling technologies from the booming small satellites market. The developed system has a traditional probe–drogue configuration; it is equipped with a sensor to detect contact and a single servo-actuator to lock the connection. The simple, though effective, design fills a relevant gap in the field of nanosatellite technologies. Numerical simulations have been conducted to evaluate the dynamics of docking procedures and to estimate loads exchanged at contact. Experimental results validate the simulations and prove the high tolerance to angular and linear (lateral) misalignment.

Miniature docking mechanism for CubeSats

Branz F.
;
Olivieri L.;Sansone F.;Francesconi A.
2020

Abstract

This paper presents the design and characterization of a miniature docking mechanism for nanosatellites. Potential applications are several, including servicing of orbital vehicles (e.g. refuelling, components replacement, deorbiting or reboosting) and assembly of large structures (e.g. telescopes, antennas). The mechanism responds to the constant demand of enabling technologies from the booming small satellites market. The developed system has a traditional probe–drogue configuration; it is equipped with a sensor to detect contact and a single servo-actuator to lock the connection. The simple, though effective, design fills a relevant gap in the field of nanosatellite technologies. Numerical simulations have been conducted to evaluate the dynamics of docking procedures and to estimate loads exchanged at contact. Experimental results validate the simulations and prove the high tolerance to angular and linear (lateral) misalignment.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3350244
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