The arm was maneuvered to the proper position to release the satellite into a specific direction that ensures a safe departure path from ISS without any risk of re-contact on subsequent orbits.
Detailed overviews of the SpinSat spacecraft and the SSIKLOPS deployer can be found below.
The communications system consists of a separate receiver and transmitter supporting an uplink frequency of 450 MHz and a downlink frequency of 401 MHz reaching a data rate of 9.6kbit/s. Four antennas are installed in the equator of the satellite at equal distance. The antennas are paired to create two dipoles, one for transmission one for reception regardless of the spacecraft attitude and spin rate. The antennas are made from nitinol, a flexible material that allows them to be stowed in a trough on the equator, held in place by a nylon cord that is cut by a resistor once power is applied.
Universal Mounting System
Ground campaigns of the International Laser Ranging Network will deliver high-resolution data that allows the determination of spin rate. A total of 68 optical Satellite Laser Ranging retroreflectors with a diameter of 12.7 millimeters are installed on the surface of the satellite along five latitudinal bands (+/-90, 67.5, 45, 22.5 and 0° in longitude with one, six, eight, ten and ten reflectors per band) and one longitudinal band of 0°.
Once the evaluation of the ESP microthrusters is complete after about four months, SpinSat becomes a passive satellite to be used for the measurement of Neutral Density in the atmosphere. As long as the satellite has battery power left, the accelerometers can be used to track microaccelerations due to drag in the uppermost atmosphere. Laser ranging will be used to accurately track the satellite’s orbital decay. Since SpinSat has a precisely calibrated ballistic coefficient, it is an excellent target for laser and radar ranging yielding high-resolution atmospheric drag data used to calculate thermospheric density.
SSIKLOPS, the Space Station Integrated Kinetic Launcher for Orbital Payload Systems, is the third deployment mechanism for satellites to be released from the International Space Station to be operated alongside the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) and the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD). But unlike J-SSOD and NRCSD that can only be used for CubeSats, SSIKLOPS can be used to deploy larger satellites of different shapes up to a mass of 110 Kilograms – opening up a whole new market for satellite deployments from ISS. The new deployer is of particular use for satellites of uncommon shapes which have difficulty finding a suitable launch vehicle.
SSIKLOPS is a flat structure that includes grapple fixtures for the robotic arms of the Space Station and a single grapple fixture for the satellite that is to be deployed. The fixture includes clamps and springs for the deployment of the satellite. Overall, the structure is 127 by 61 by 7.6 centimeters in size. It also includes interfaces for the slide table of the JEM Airlock. Featuring a flat structure with only one interface point to the satellite allows SSIKLOPS to launch spacecraft of all shapes only constrained by the mass limitation of 110 Kilograms and the size of the JEM airlock.
For an operational deployment, SSIKLOPS will be installed on the JEM Airlock Slide Table before crew members install the satellite on the platform. Optional inspections and functional checkouts of the satellite can be performed ahead of sliding the table inside the airlock and depressurizing it. Once the external hatch is opened, the platform will be grappled by either the Japanese Robotic Arm or Canadarm2 depending on the selected deployment position that may differ from satellite to satellite. The robotic arm will then move the platform into position to deploy the satellite into a precisely calculated direction that ensures it will not collide with ISS on subsequent orbits. SSIKLOPS will then be returned inside the Airlock to have the next satellite installed or return to its stowage location for a future deployment.
Deploying CubeSats from ISS has a number of benefits. Launching the vehicles aboard the logistics carrier of ISS visiting vehicle's reduces the vibration and loads they have to encounter during launch. In addition, they can be packed in protective materials so that the probability of CubeSat damage during launch is reduced significantly. Also, once arriving at the Space Station, the satellites can be checked pre-deployment, making sure any damage is detected before committing them to flight.