Session

Technical Session III: Reflections on the Past

SSC11-III-8.pdf (754 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

Northrop Grumman Corporation, in partnership with Applied Minds Incorporated (AMI) and the University of Southern California (USC), completed the “Mayflower” mission as an on-orbit demonstration of CubeSat technologies. Mayflower was one of eight CubeSats launched aboard a Falcon 9 as the rocket’s first commercial payload. The CubeSats were a secondary payload on the COTS-1 flight. Northrop Grumman served as the prime system integrator for AMI’s 2U CubeSat bus and USC’s 1U communication bus. Planned as a short testbed mission, Mayflower was successful in demonstrating next generation CubeSat bus subsystems such as high power solar arrays and power management as well as advanced thermal rejection and deployable solar arrays. In addition, it assisted in establishing new Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) development and integration process for CubeSats resulting in over 300% acceleration to previous timelines. Lastly, it led to other innovative ideas for future CubeSats, which are in development for the Plymouth bus. The demonstration mission reached its end-of-life 12 days after launch and communication was lost. The last received data showed high spin rates, which are believed to be the result of atmospheric disturbances. The design altitude was 325 km and the last recorded space-track data yielded an altitude of less than 180 km. As the orbit decayed, and as analysis predicted, the magnetic torque-coil based reaction control system was eventually overcome by the spacecraft’s high coefficient of drag to achieve 3-axis stabilization. Mayflower utilized two 30 x 40 cm deployed solar arrays to generate a peak power of 48 W, but they also contributed to the large drag coefficient for a CubeSat. Additionally, the solar arrays were directional and, in a tumbling environment, the solar arrays were not able to collect enough solar energy to maintain a positive power budget. The Mayflower project was the smallest spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman and demonstrated a rapid response space satellite technology build and integration capability. Northrop Grumman designed, manufactured, integrated, and tested the next generation bus subsystems in six-months; a span that is significantly lower than traditional developments.

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Aug 9th, 9:59 AM

Mayflower: Next Generation Cubesat Flight Testbed

Northrop Grumman Corporation, in partnership with Applied Minds Incorporated (AMI) and the University of Southern California (USC), completed the “Mayflower” mission as an on-orbit demonstration of CubeSat technologies. Mayflower was one of eight CubeSats launched aboard a Falcon 9 as the rocket’s first commercial payload. The CubeSats were a secondary payload on the COTS-1 flight. Northrop Grumman served as the prime system integrator for AMI’s 2U CubeSat bus and USC’s 1U communication bus. Planned as a short testbed mission, Mayflower was successful in demonstrating next generation CubeSat bus subsystems such as high power solar arrays and power management as well as advanced thermal rejection and deployable solar arrays. In addition, it assisted in establishing new Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) development and integration process for CubeSats resulting in over 300% acceleration to previous timelines. Lastly, it led to other innovative ideas for future CubeSats, which are in development for the Plymouth bus. The demonstration mission reached its end-of-life 12 days after launch and communication was lost. The last received data showed high spin rates, which are believed to be the result of atmospheric disturbances. The design altitude was 325 km and the last recorded space-track data yielded an altitude of less than 180 km. As the orbit decayed, and as analysis predicted, the magnetic torque-coil based reaction control system was eventually overcome by the spacecraft’s high coefficient of drag to achieve 3-axis stabilization. Mayflower utilized two 30 x 40 cm deployed solar arrays to generate a peak power of 48 W, but they also contributed to the large drag coefficient for a CubeSat. Additionally, the solar arrays were directional and, in a tumbling environment, the solar arrays were not able to collect enough solar energy to maintain a positive power budget. The Mayflower project was the smallest spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman and demonstrated a rapid response space satellite technology build and integration capability. Northrop Grumman designed, manufactured, integrated, and tested the next generation bus subsystems in six-months; a span that is significantly lower than traditional developments.