TechEdSat-3, also known as TechEdSat-3p, is a three-unit Cubesat, 30 by 10 by 10 centimeters in size and builds on the TechEdSat-1 payload that was deployed from ISS in 2012. ThechEdSat-1 was designed to test the basic satellite design, avionics, stabilization and communication systems. This one-unit core satellite bus is essentially re-used on TechEdSat-3p to provide the basic satellite functions such as commanding, power generation & supply as well as communications while the other 2 units of the satellite (2/3 of its volume) carry the payload. TechEdSat-3 will fly an Exo-Brake to orbit that is deployed once the satellite is released to demonstrate a Passive De-Orbit System for satellites.
The Exo Brake is a deployable device for use in free molecular flow regimes in an exo-atmosphere environment. The device is a tension based structure that has a number of advantages over other designs such as high stability and the possibility of drag modulating to provide targeting capability.
As part of its first demonstration in orbit, TechEdSat’s Exo-Brake would be deployed to begin a 10-day de-orbit experiment during which the GPS unit of the satellite provides position data that is coupled with Earth-based tracking data to model the atmospheric descent of the satellite. TechEdSat will have a high ballistic coefficient of 5kg/m² leading to a rapid orbital decay. This experiment will be the start of a series of demonstrations with even faster de-orbit scenarios. The project is managed by San Jose State University and the University of Idaho.