Origami Aeroshell for CubeSats



Sydney aeroshell

Photo credit: Tori Repp/Fotobuddy

Sydney Hsu's ('22) award-winning senior thesis focused on the design and prototyping of an origami-based deployable aeroshell for CubeSats, as well as a proof-of-concept of its feasibility as not only a deorbit device, but perhaps (with upgrade to a ceramic fabric layup) even as a reentry platform (admittedly probably only for very heat-tolerant payloads or sample returns).

Aeroshell in orbit

The stowage and deployment of the aeroshell is based on a modified "Flasher" origami pattern: 

Paper flasher-pattern aeroshell

 While any future flight version of the aeroshell would be composed of a sturdy, heat-resistant composite or ceramic fabric layup, Sydney's deployment prototype was fabricated from canvas, to try to capture the challenge of folding and unfurling a thicker, heavier fabric:

Denim aeroshell deployment