Session

Technical Session III: Tidbits

SSC10-III-3.pdf (49509 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

A network of small low-cost satellites is the only realistic option for multi-point in-situ measurements in the lower thermosphere. The QB50 program, an initiative of the von Karman Institute of Fluid Dynamics (VKI), aims to employ a network of 50 CubeSats built by universities to study the lower thermosphere (90-320 km). All 50 CubeSats will carry identical sensors and will be launched together from a single launch vehicle. QB50 will also study the re-entry process by measuring a number of critical parameters during re-entry. The Delft University of Technology (TUDelft) intends to provide two satellites out of the 50 CubeSats in the QB50 network. This paper will discuss the preliminary orbit analysis of the QB50 satellites that will allow a first order evaluation of mission performance parameters like lifetime and coverage. The paper will subsequently look at the two satellites provided by TUDelft, each of which is equipped with a highly miniaturized propulsion system in addition to the science payload. This scenario is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate relative motion control between two CubeSats and elevate university CubeSats as serious contenders for significant science missions. A first analysisassesses the possibility of drag compensation and differential drag compensation using the TUDelft satellites with micro-propulsion.

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Aug 10th, 9:00 AM

Two CubeSats with Micro-Propulsion in the QB50 Satellite Network

A network of small low-cost satellites is the only realistic option for multi-point in-situ measurements in the lower thermosphere. The QB50 program, an initiative of the von Karman Institute of Fluid Dynamics (VKI), aims to employ a network of 50 CubeSats built by universities to study the lower thermosphere (90-320 km). All 50 CubeSats will carry identical sensors and will be launched together from a single launch vehicle. QB50 will also study the re-entry process by measuring a number of critical parameters during re-entry. The Delft University of Technology (TUDelft) intends to provide two satellites out of the 50 CubeSats in the QB50 network. This paper will discuss the preliminary orbit analysis of the QB50 satellites that will allow a first order evaluation of mission performance parameters like lifetime and coverage. The paper will subsequently look at the two satellites provided by TUDelft, each of which is equipped with a highly miniaturized propulsion system in addition to the science payload. This scenario is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate relative motion control between two CubeSats and elevate university CubeSats as serious contenders for significant science missions. A first analysisassesses the possibility of drag compensation and differential drag compensation using the TUDelft satellites with micro-propulsion.