Session

Technical Session VII: Propulsion

SSC13-VII-8.pdf (380 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

Satellite propulsion systems are typically complex and costly, and require extensive ground support equipment and personnel to implement. While these systems may be feasible for large commercial or government programs to execute, they are impractical for micro- and nano-satellite systems. In particular, these small spacecraft cannot utilize classical hazardous or high-pressure components, as small satellites are often hosted as secondary payloads with stringent restrictions imposed. In contrast to this paradigm, an effort to develop, manufacture, and validate a low-cost propulsion system suitable for small, secondary payloads was pursued. Intended for orbit insertion, stationkeeping, and de-orbit operations, this system was developed to operate within the typical constraints of a small satellite. In addition to the aforementioned cost and safety concerns, small satellites possess limited mass, volume, and electrical power. Given these considerations, a straightforward warm gas system was chosen, with liquid butane as propellant. This configuration is not only inherently simple, but can also be manufactured using primarily off-theshelf components, which can be quickly procured in small quantities. With a fully integrated sensor manifold and heating assembly, this design provides performance well suited to a small satellite mission of several years in low- Earth orbit.

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Aug 14th, 9:30 AM

Development of a Warm-Gas Butane System for Microsatellite Propulsion

Satellite propulsion systems are typically complex and costly, and require extensive ground support equipment and personnel to implement. While these systems may be feasible for large commercial or government programs to execute, they are impractical for micro- and nano-satellite systems. In particular, these small spacecraft cannot utilize classical hazardous or high-pressure components, as small satellites are often hosted as secondary payloads with stringent restrictions imposed. In contrast to this paradigm, an effort to develop, manufacture, and validate a low-cost propulsion system suitable for small, secondary payloads was pursued. Intended for orbit insertion, stationkeeping, and de-orbit operations, this system was developed to operate within the typical constraints of a small satellite. In addition to the aforementioned cost and safety concerns, small satellites possess limited mass, volume, and electrical power. Given these considerations, a straightforward warm gas system was chosen, with liquid butane as propellant. This configuration is not only inherently simple, but can also be manufactured using primarily off-theshelf components, which can be quickly procured in small quantities. With a fully integrated sensor manifold and heating assembly, this design provides performance well suited to a small satellite mission of several years in low- Earth orbit.