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Design of Power, Propulsion, and Thermal Sub-Systems for a 3U CubeSat Measuring Earth’s Radiation Imbalance

by 1,† and 2,*,†
1
Department of Engineering and Math, Sheffield Hallam University, Howard Street, Sheffield S1 1WB, UK
2
Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Aerospace 2018, 5(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace5020063
Received: 22 April 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
The paper presents the development of the power, propulsion, and thermal systems for a 3U CubeSat orbiting Earth at a radius of 600 km measuring the radiation imbalance using the RAVAN (Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned NanoTubes) payload developed by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). The propulsion system was selected as a Mars-Space PPTCUP -Pulsed Plasma Thruster for CubeSat Propulsion, micro-pulsed plasma thruster with satisfactory capability to provide enough impulse to overcome the generated force due to drag to maintain an altitude of 600 km and bring the CubeSat down to a graveyard orbit of 513 km. Thermal analysis for hot case found that the integration of a black high-emissivity paint and MLI was required to prevent excessive heating within the structure. Furthermore, the power system analysis successfully defined electrical consumption scenarios for the CubeSat’s 600 km orbit. The analysis concluded that a singular 7 W solar panel mounted on a sun-facing side of the CubeSat using a sun sensor could satisfactorily power the electrical system throughout the hot phase and charge the craft’s battery enough to ensure constant electrical operation during the cold phase, even with the additional integration of an active thermal heater. However, when the inevitable end-of-life degradation of the solar cell was factored into the analysis, an approximate power deficit of 2 kJ was found. This was supplemented by additional solar cell integrated into the antenna housing face. View Full-Text
Keywords: CubeSats; thermal design; PMAD; power system design; propulsion system design; albedo CubeSats; thermal design; PMAD; power system design; propulsion system design; albedo
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MDPI and ACS Style

Claricoats, J.; Dakka, S.M. Design of Power, Propulsion, and Thermal Sub-Systems for a 3U CubeSat Measuring Earth’s Radiation Imbalance. Aerospace 2018, 5, 63.

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