Mission Capability Assessment of CubeSats Using a Miniature Ion Thruster

TitleMission Capability Assessment of CubeSats Using a Miniature Ion Thruster
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsConversano, Ryan W., and Richard E. Wirz
JournalAIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Volume50
Issue5
Pagination1035-1046
ISSN0022-4650
KeywordsCubesat, Micropropulsion
AbstractThe successful miniaturization of many spacecraft subsystems make CubeSats attractive candidates for evermore demanding scientific missions. A 3U Cubesat employing the Miniature Xenon Ion thruster, which features high efficiency and impulse capability, yields a unique spacecraft that can be optimized for a variety of missions ranging from significant inclination changes in a low Earth orbit to lunar transfers. A nominal configuration of a high-ΔV CubeSat has a dry mass of approximately 6.3 kg, including a 0.75kg payload, margins, and contingencies. Depending on the thruster and propellant tank configuration, this CubeSat is capable of delivering mission ΔV’s from 1000 m/s to over 7000 m/s, enabling low Earth orbit inclination change missions and lunar missions. A parametric analysis on a 3U high-ΔV CubeSat bus revealed that a range of payload volumes (up to nearly 1.4 U) and masses (up to nearly 6 kg) can be accommodated depending on the ΔV requirements and mission type. Additionally, this analysis showed that a high-ΔV 3U CubeSat in a 600 km low Earth orbit can be designed to provide inclination change of over 80°.
URLhttp://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/1.A32435
DOI10.2514/1.A32435

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