Shuttlecock-Inspired Heat Shield Making Reusable Satellites a Reality
Retired satellites usually burn up when they reenter Earth’s atmosphere. However, a design firm called Space Forge from Wales is working on a new idea to make satellites reusable.
They are developing a foldable heat shield named Pridwen, named after King Arthur’s legendary shield. This shield is made of a special metal that can withstand the extreme temperatures caused by the friction of reentering the atmosphere.
Space Forge has been working on this technology for more than four years with funding from the European Space Agency and the U.K. Space Agency. Before reentry, the shield will open up to deflect heat away from the satellite. This will help slow it down and allow it to return to Earth for reuse safely.
By recycling its Falcon 9 boosters, SpaceX had a significant impact on the rocket business. Now, Space Forge is attempting to do the same for satellites.
Space Forge, a design firm, is working on an exciting project to create a manufacturing infrastructure in space. They are developing a special vehicle called Fielder, which can operate on water and catch incoming spacecraft.
The goal is to manufacture super-materials in space, which can greatly save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions on Earth. The business thinks that these manufactured in space materials could spark a new industrial revolution.
To achieve this, Space Forge has tested foldable heat shields using wind tunnels, and prototypes dropped from high-altitude balloons. They plan to test the shield in space using the ForgeStar-1A satellite, scheduled for launch later this year.
The idea behind foldable satellite technology is to prevent spacecraft from burning up during reentry and to keep Earth’s orbit free from space debris.