CubeSpace, an ESL spin-off company, has recently moved their office to the Nedbank LaunchLab. The CubeSat research conducted at the ESL over the past few years has led to the founding of a spin-off company, CubeSpace. CubeSpace is an innovative space industry competitor that specialises in small satellite control systems. The company provides standalone components (with space heritage), integrated custom solutions, and consultation services on a global scale. Some of the recent projects are listed below.
DeOrbitSail is a FP7 project focusing on the passive deorbiting of satellites by deploying a sail. Deploying a sail increases the cross-section area of the satellite and greatly increases the aerodynamic drag. The drag reduces the velocity of the satellite and thus reduces the orbit altitude until the satellite is completely deorbited. DeOrbitSail is a 3U CubeSat deploying a 16m2 sail. Stellenbosch University is responsible for the ADCS of the DeOrbitSail satellite. This includes a complete bundle of electronics including actuators and sensors and the ADCS flight software. Their new facilities will include among others a state of the art clean room. Feel free to go and visit them!
CubeSail is a 3U CubeSat solar sailing satellite mission from Surrey Space Centre. The satellite deploys a 25m2 solar sail which will generate solar thrust that will change the inclination of the orbit. Stellenbosch University is involved in supplying the ADCS software and electronics which includes a translation stage which can move the satellite body relative to the sail. This can be used to reduce the solar thrust disturbance torque and to create control torques to perform attitude manoeuvres. After completing the main mission objective the satellite will turn its sail to maximise the aerodynamics drag.