Kawasaki “Simple PAF”(payload attach fitting for small satellite) Successfully Separates a Satellite in Space

May 29, 2024

Kawasaki’s Simple PAF Series
From left: Simple PAF 239M (φ239 mm), Simple PAF 8M (φ8 in.)
and Simple PAF 15M (φ15 in.).
The box-shaped component attached
to the front of each PAF is the Simple Pin Puller 350.

Tokyo, May 29, 2024 — Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today its first launch into space of the company’s Simple Pin Puller, which is a non-pyrotechnic separation device newly developed by the company which utilizes an electric signal to trigger mechanical release of a coupling mechanism in place of explosive separation. Kawasaki also announced its first launch into space of the Simple PAF payload attach fitting for small satellites, which uses said Simple Pin Puller. These components were installed on the second H3 launch vehicle (H3TF2) launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and both performed as expected in the space environment. A payload attach fitting (PAF) is a component used to attach a satellite to a launch vehicle, and then release it from the launch vehicle once it reaches outer space. A Simple PAF that uses a Simple Pin Puller reduces shock level and external disturbances experienced by the satellite upon detachment from the launch vehicle.

Starting in 2019, Kawasaki pursued joint research with JAXA on a PAF equipped with a non-pyrotechnic separation device for small satellites, and also collaborated with JAXA via the JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC) program to improve said device’s operating performance. The results of these endeavors are the Simple Pin Puller 350 and the Simple PAF 15M (part of Kawasaki’s Simple PAF Series) on which the pin puller is used. The H3TF2 launch vehicle was launched in February 2024 together with a microsatellite as a piggyback payload,*1 and the Simple PAF 15M was chosen for use as the PAF for this 50-kilogram-class satellite. The non-pyrotechnic Simple Pin Puller 350 was selected for use in the 3U pod release mechanism manufactured by Orbital Engineering Inc. for the attached 3U satellite.*2 Both products operated normally in outer space, and the satellites were successfully injected into their planned orbit.

Advantages of Simple PAF Series and the Simple Pin Puller 350 (Compared with Past Kawasaki Products)

-Lower cost and shorter delivery time
-Minimizes shock level during separation (to 200 Gsrs or less, although this may vary based on satellite mass and other factors)
-No permit from U.S. government needed when exporting, due to exemption from International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
-Simplified user operation (no special skills needed for satellite–PAF coupling, etc.)
-Operates using a similar amount of electric current as the firing current used by conventional pyrotechnic devices

Three types of Simple PAF products are available to accommodate differing separation interface diameters, thus enabling their use with satellites of various sizes. Moreover, the Simple Pin Puller 350 can be purchased individually and used to actuate satellite deployment mechanisms and other such applications.

Moving forward, Kawasaki will call upon its proven track record and outstanding technologies in payload fairings and other space-industry components and devices as it continues to play a role in satellite launch and space exploration operations both in Japan and around the world.

*1    Microsatellite piggyback payloads: JAXA launches small satellites of 100 kilograms or less in mass together with other payloads in a manner that has no adverse effect on the main mission in order to ensure opportunities for sustained in-orbit verification tests by universities, private companies and other such organizations, and to enable such organizations to develop and gain vital technologies and knowledge.
*2    3U satellite: A satellite the size of 3 cubes about 10 cm on each side joined together

Simple PAF Series Main Specifications

Type Simple PAF
Simple PAF
Simple PAF
Mountable satellite mass*1 110 kg 250 kg 110 kg
Mechanical interface for Satellite Pitch diameter 203.2 mm (8 in.) 381.0 mm (15 in.) 246.0 mm
No. of bolts 12 24 8
Bolt standard NAS6204: 1/4 in. hexagonal-head bolt
Electrical interface for Satellite Separation monitoring S.W. (3 pieces) : Option
Umbilical Connector : Option
Satellite frame mass*2 0.4 kg 0.9 kg 0.6 kg
Mechanical interface for Launch vehicle Pitch diameter 203.2 mm (8 in.) 381.0 mm (15 in.) 271.0 mm
No. of bolts 12 24 8
Bolt standard NAS6204: 1/4 in. hexagonal-head bolt
Electrical interface for Launch vehicle Activation Line : 2 systems (Standard)
Separation monitoring S.W. 2 Pieces : Option
Umbilical Connector(14Ch) : Option
No. of springs for Satellite deployment*3 6 12 6
Band Clamping Tension 6kN or 8.4kN (can be changed based on satellite weight)
Total mass for Satellite Separation System*2 2.0 kg 3.5 kg 3.5 kg

*1    For Simple PAF 8M and Simple PAF 239M: applicable with a gravitational center height of 275 mm between the PAF and separation plane, and an axial lateral acceleration of 5 G or less. For Simple PAF 15M: applicable with a gravitational center height of 375 mm between the PAF and interface, and an axial lateral acceleration of 5 G or less.
*2    Mass without optional components.
*3    Spring strength can be adjusted based on satellite mass.

Simple Pin Puller 350 Main Specifications

Shape Dimensions: 42 × 33 × 22 mm
(excl. protruding portions)
Mass 100 g or less
(incl. 980 ± 50 mm operating line)
Operating temperature range –50°C to 100°C
Electrical interface Dual redundancy
Guaranteed operating current 3.5 A or more
Non-operating current 0.2 A or less
1.0 ± 0.4 Ω
Pull-in force for load receiving section 345 N ± 10%
Operating-environment vibration resistance 44.2 Grms (random)
Operating-environment impact resistance 2000 Gsrs


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