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SBIR/STTR

CubeSat High Impulse Propulsion System (CHIPS), Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

CU Aerospace proposes the ground test validation of a nanosat primary propulsion subsystem using non-toxic propellant with 3-axis ACS for orbit change and/or de-orbit capability, precision maneuvering, and drag makeup. Our approach, called the CubeSat High Impulse Propulsion System (CHIPS), leverages the existing Micro Propulsion System (MiPS) thruster technology development by our team partner VACCO Industries and enhances it with the CU Aerospace very high efficiency warm gas variant of an innovative resistojet that significantly boosts the performance of standard cold-gas systems. The MiPS system has been tested to 200,000 cycles without any technical issues, demonstrating excellent reliability. The 1.5U CHIPS subsystem, using non-toxic proprietary EP-76 propellant, is a compact thruster system having a total impulse of 602 N-s and a fully throttleable thrust of 50 mN. The subsystem also includes an EP-76 3-axis cold-gas attitude control system. Approximately 25 W of primary power is required from a battery included in the 1.5U package. The value of this technology is that this low cost subsystem demonstration will pioneer a family of nanosat propulsion systems, based upon an innovative warm gas system and propellant, which will become available to the CubeSat and nanosatellite community for a broad range of propulsion needs. More »

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