Session

Technical Session VII: Propulsion

SSC13-VII-2.pdf (4071 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

Skybox recently became the first commercial company to baseline ECAPS’ High Performance Green Propulsion (HPGP) technology, implementing a propulsion system design with four 1N thrusters in their second generation small satellite platform (< 150 kg). The initial propulsion module, to be delivered in 2013, will serve to qualify the system design for use in an entire constellation of small satellites intended to provide customers easy access to reliable and frequent high-resolution images of the Earth. Selection of the ECAPS HPGP system resulted from a system study of various propulsion options in support of Skybox’s mission to provide high quality and timely earth observation data from a small satellite constellation. Two key technical requirements for the propulsion system were to provide the maximum delta-v achievable (for continued orbit maintenance and mission flexibility) within a considerably limited internal volume typical of many Small-Sats. Additionally, in light of the commercial nature of the project, the overall life-cycle cost was considered to be of utmost importance. A detailed trade study of various propulsion technologies and vendors was conducted by Skybox during the selection process. The results of that study showed that the HPGP solution selected provides nearly twice the on-orbit delta-v of the more traditional monopropellant systems, at the lowest projected life-cycle cost of the liquid propulsion technologies evaluated. The higher performance of the HPGP system will give Skybox’s constellation of small satellites significantly improved mission flexibility, enabling collection and delivery of higher quality and more timely data to customers. Furthermore, the handling and transportation advantages of the environmentally benign Ammonium Dinitramide (ADN)-based LMP-103S monopropellant provide reductions in logistics costs and enable more responsive launch preparation. This paper will present an overview of the driving propulsion performance requirements for small Earth Observation satellites such as Skybox’s and discuss how the HPGP technology was selected for Skybox’s imaging constellation.

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Aug 14th, 8:00 AM

First Implementation of High Performance Green Propulsion in a Constellation of Small Satellites

Skybox recently became the first commercial company to baseline ECAPS’ High Performance Green Propulsion (HPGP) technology, implementing a propulsion system design with four 1N thrusters in their second generation small satellite platform (< 150 kg). The initial propulsion module, to be delivered in 2013, will serve to qualify the system design for use in an entire constellation of small satellites intended to provide customers easy access to reliable and frequent high-resolution images of the Earth. Selection of the ECAPS HPGP system resulted from a system study of various propulsion options in support of Skybox’s mission to provide high quality and timely earth observation data from a small satellite constellation. Two key technical requirements for the propulsion system were to provide the maximum delta-v achievable (for continued orbit maintenance and mission flexibility) within a considerably limited internal volume typical of many Small-Sats. Additionally, in light of the commercial nature of the project, the overall life-cycle cost was considered to be of utmost importance. A detailed trade study of various propulsion technologies and vendors was conducted by Skybox during the selection process. The results of that study showed that the HPGP solution selected provides nearly twice the on-orbit delta-v of the more traditional monopropellant systems, at the lowest projected life-cycle cost of the liquid propulsion technologies evaluated. The higher performance of the HPGP system will give Skybox’s constellation of small satellites significantly improved mission flexibility, enabling collection and delivery of higher quality and more timely data to customers. Furthermore, the handling and transportation advantages of the environmentally benign Ammonium Dinitramide (ADN)-based LMP-103S monopropellant provide reductions in logistics costs and enable more responsive launch preparation. This paper will present an overview of the driving propulsion performance requirements for small Earth Observation satellites such as Skybox’s and discuss how the HPGP technology was selected for Skybox’s imaging constellation.