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Aerospace 2018, 5(2), 52;

A Dual Mode Propulsion System for Small Satellite Applications

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
Benchmark Space Systems Inc., South Burlington, VT 05403, USA
This paper is a substantially extended version of our conference paper published as part of the 54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 4-8 January 2016, San Diego, CA, USA (AIAA Paper 2016-0963).
Current address: Blue Origin, Kent, WA 98032, USA.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
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This study focused on the development of a chemical micropropulsion system suitable for primary propulsion and/or attitude control for a nanosatellite. Due to the limitations and expense of current micropropulsion technologies, few nanosatellites with propulsion have been launched to date; however, the availability of such a propulsion system would allow for new nanosatellite mission concepts, such as deep space exploration, maneuvering in low gravity environments and formation flying. This work describes the design of “dual mode” monopropellant/bipropellant microthruster prototype that employs a novel homogeneous catalysis scheme. Results from prototype testing are reported that validate the concept. The micropropulsion system is designed to be fabricated using a combination of additively-manufactured and commercial off the shelf (COTS) parts along with non-toxic fuels, thus making it a low-cost and environmentally-friendly option for future nanosatellite missions. View Full-Text
Keywords: micropropulsion; microthruster; small satellites; additive manufacturing; hydrogen peroxide; monopropellant micropropulsion; microthruster; small satellites; additive manufacturing; hydrogen peroxide; monopropellant

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Gagne, K.R.; McDevitt, M.R.; Hitt, D.L. A Dual Mode Propulsion System for Small Satellite Applications. Aerospace 2018, 5, 52.

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