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Aerospace 2017, 4(4), 58; doi:10.3390/aerospace4040058

An Overview of Cube-Satellite Propulsion Technologies and Trends

Department of Aerospace Engineering, Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount St., Wichita, KS 67260, USA
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Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 9 December 2017
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Abstract

CubeSats provide a cost effective means to perform scientific and technological studies in space. Due to their affordability, CubeSat technologies have been diversely studied and developed by educational institutions, companies and space organizations all over the world. The CubeSat technology that is surveyed in this paper is the propulsion system. A propulsion system is the primary mobility device of a spacecraft and helps with orbit modifications and attitude control. This paper provides an overview of micro-propulsion technologies that have been developed or are currently being developed for CubeSats. Some of the micro-propulsion technologies listed have also flown as secondary propulsion systems on larger spacecraft. Operating principles and key design considerations for each class of propulsion system are outlined. Finally, the performance factors of micro-propulsion systems have been summarized in terms of: first, a comparison of thrust and specific impulse for all propulsion systems; second, a comparison of power and specific impulse, as also thrust-to-power ratio and specific impulse for electric propulsion systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: micro-propulsion survey; CubeSat propulsion; cold gas propulsion; liquid propulsion; solid rocket propulsion; resistojets; RF ion propulsion; hall propulsion; electrospray; pulsed plasma thrusters micro-propulsion survey; CubeSat propulsion; cold gas propulsion; liquid propulsion; solid rocket propulsion; resistojets; RF ion propulsion; hall propulsion; electrospray; pulsed plasma thrusters
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Tummala, A.R.; Dutta, A. An Overview of Cube-Satellite Propulsion Technologies and Trends. Aerospace 2017, 4, 58.

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