Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Charles Swenson


Charles Swenson


Todd Moon


Jacob Gunther


Reyhan Baktur


Thomas Fronk


Modern CubeSats and Small Satellites have advanced in capability to tackle science and technology missions that would usually be reserved for more traditional, large satellites. However, this rapid growth in capability is only possible through the fast-to-production, low-cost, and advanced technology approach used by modern small satellite engineers. Advanced technologies in power generation, energy storage, and high-power density electronics have naturally led to a thermal bottleneck, where CubeSats and Small Satellites can generate more power than they can easily reject. The Active CryoCubeSat (ACCS) is an advanced active thermal control technology (ATC) for Small Satellites and CubeSats, which hopes to help solve this thermal problem. The ACCS technology is based on a two-stage design. An integrated miniature cryocooler forms the first stage, and a single-phase mechanically pumped fluid loop heat exchanger the second. The ACCS leverages advanced 3D manufacturing techniques to integrate the ATC directly into the satellite structure, which helps to improve the performance while simultaneously miniaturizing and simplifying the system. The ACCS system can easily be scaled to mission requirements and can control zonal temperature, bulk thermal rejection, and dynamic heat transfer within a satellite structure. The integrated cryocooler supports cryogenic science payloads such as advanced LWIR electro-optical detectors. The ACCS hopes to enable future advanced CubeSat and Small Satellite missions in earth science, heliophysics, and deep space operations. This dissertation will detail the design, development, and testing of the ACCS system technology.