The Low Earth Orbit is getting more and more crowded with space debris. Objects at LEO experience a natural decay process due to the atmospheric drag, which leads to their re-entry into the atmosphere. Most of these objects are monitored by ground-based systems, and computational models are used to estimate their trajectories. However, the precise re-entry point is difficult to predict because of the dependence on many uncertain parameters, such as the attitude of the object, the heat transfer coefficients, the atmospheric density, and the solar activity.
EntrySat is a 3U CubeSat designed to study the atmospheric re-entry. The reduced dimensions, 34x10x10 cm, as well as the absence of special protective systems, make it very similar to debris produced during the breakup of a spacecraft. The satellite will collect data about the temperature, heat flux, pressure, drag force, and attitude during re-entry. All data will be transmitted before its destruction using the Iridium communication system. The mission, funded by CNES JANUS project, is currently in final integration phase for a launch opportunity in October 2018.
This presentation will describe the science objectives and related simulations, the EntrySat system and mission, the current status of the CubeSat platform and ground segment, an provide a return of experiment at this stage of the project.