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NASA to Demo a New De-Orbit Device for Payload Return Functions in 2017

NASA will demonstrate a new Space Technology Mission Directorate-funded technology designed to support the potential return of science payloads to Earth from the International Space Station via deployed small spacecraft in 2017.

The space agency said Tuesday the Exo-Brake de-orbit device resembles a cross parachute designed to increase the drag and replace rocket-based systems typically used during the de-orbit phase of payload re-entry.

“Exo-Brake’s current design uses a hybrid system of mechanical struts and flexible cord with a control system that ‘warps’ the Exo-Brake,” said Marcus Murbach, principal investigator and inventor of the Exo-Brake device.

NASA noted the warp system was designed to help engineers guide a spacecraft towards a desired entry point without fuel consumption and support the accuracy of landing future payload return missions.

The Exo-Brake project will reside on the ISS in support of the Technology Education nanosatellite which will lead the Cricket Wireless Sensor Module demonstration that offers real time data to TechEdSat-5.

Exo-Brake was developed as part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development program, NASA added.

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