Rolatube Deployable Composite Booms were used for the InflateSail mission in 2017. This was the first European spacecraft to successfully demonstrate de-orbiting – deliberately causing a satellite to re-enter and burn up – in a drive to reduce the amount of hazardous “Space Junk” currently causing problems by taking up orbits that are needed for new spacecraft.

In recent years, NASA and other organizations have begun to use small satellites more and more as technologists have miniaturised spacecraft avionics. In order to have an equivalent functionality to larger satellites, small satellites still need to carry deployable antennas, radiators, solar panels and other instruments. Rolatube's bistable rollable composite material is a proven material and technology enabler for these smaller satellites.

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Using our patented bistable rollable composite, Rolatube Deployable Composite Booms are being developed for other functions such as reducing the size and mass, and simplifying the deployment of Solar Cell Arrays, Antennas, Instrument Booms, Capture Arms and Docking Systems as well as many other areas of Spaceflight Engineering.

These DCBs will enable high-power solar arrays, large antennas for high data rate communications, large drag augmentation devices for rapid end-of-life deorbiting, and propellantless continuous low-thrust propulsion systems to be included on small satellites.  DCBs are typically 75 percent lighter and experience 100 times less in-space thermal distortion than equivalent available thin-shell metallic booms. This additional boom performance enables engineers to increase significantly the size of solar sails on small satellite platforms, which could more than triple the propulsion performance of state-of-the-art solar sail structures for small satellites under development.