AEOLDOS – Aerodynamic End Of Life Deorbit System for CubeSats and Small Satellites


Source: Clyde Space

AEOLDOS is a lightweight, foldable ‘aerobrake’ for CubeSats and small satellites. Once the spacecraft has reached the end of its operational life, the lightweight aerobrake, made from a thin membrane supported by tape measure-like struts, springs open to generate aerodynamic drag against the extremely thin upper atmosphere that still exists in near-Earth space. As the satellite falls out of orbit the aerodynamic effects increase, causing the satellite to harmlessly burn up during its descent. This ensures that it does not become another piece of potentially harmful space debris.

AEOLDOS is an off-the-shelf standard product developed by the University of Glasgow and Clyde Space, and offered for sale by Clyde Space.  Flight ready versions are expected to be available from the end of 2013.


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About the author

Andrea Gini

Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a scientific journalist and a professional of the space industry, working as a contractor on ISS Payload Safety. He is the Editor-in-chief of the Space Safety Magazine. Andrea is also Chairman of the Information and Communication Committee of the International Association for Advancement in Space Safety (IAASS), publisher of the Space Safety Magazine, and he is responsible for the communication strategy of the association, Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in scientific journalism from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.

  • John Stacey

    Last night at approx 7.35pm Eastern standard time Queensland Australia, saw a satellite deorbit heading from north to south over Bargara, Qld.
    Saw Satellite to the north moving very quickly across the sky to the south.
    Anyone got any idea on which satellite it was and its approximate size at all?

    • Merryl Azriel

      The closest I can see is a piece of debris from Iridium 33 that was being tracked and now seems to have reentered. It was supposed to enter on the Atlantic side, but may have come down earlier than expected. I am not seeing any estimates on its size.