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The aerospace sector is trending towards small, standardised satellites (CubeSats) that offer affordable access to space. Their standard edge length of 10 cm does present a disadvantage, however, as it significantly limits the missions these satellites can support. To get around these limitations, deployable structures like antennas or sails are being used, that are deployed once a satellite is in orbit. This opens the door to high-performance applications that are typically only possible with large satellites. Initiating this deployment requires special actuators such as hold-down and release mechanisms. Unfortunately, European actuators are too large for this purpose, and American products are subject to export restrictions. To solve this problem Deployables Cubed – a new space company at ESA BIC Bavaria – is developing pin-puller and release nut actuators to ensure Europe’s independence with regard to these small actuators and the deployable structures that they make possible. The company plans to establish for simple, light, and reliable aerospace actuators on the market and offer them to a broad range of customers.
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