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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Electric Potential and Field Instrument for CubeSat (EPIC)

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Electric Potential and Field Instrument for CubeSat (EPIC), Phase I
Upcoming NASA Earth and Space Science missions as well as planetary exploration missions will require improvements in particle and field sensors and associated instrument technologies. Technology developments are needed that result in expanded measurement capabilities and a reduction in size, mass, power, and cost. To that end, NASA has become increasingly interested in the use of small spacecraft platforms such as CubeSats. Many of the sensors required for measurement of an electric field are extremely sensitive to fields created by the spacecraft electronics and therefore must be positioned on orbit at a significant distance from the spacecraft. This presents major challenges for the accommodation of this type of instrument on a CubeSat platform. In particular, several miniaturized booms must be stowed in a very small volume for launch and must have sufficient deployed properties to allow for high pointing accuracy, adequate deployed stiffness and thermal stability on orbit. In the proposed effort, Composite Technology Development, Inc. (CTD) and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) will collaborate to provide an electric field instrument containing miniaturized sensor electronics and thermally stable, compactly stowed and structurally rigid graphite composite booms to measure electric fields effectively on a low-cost CubeSat platform. More »

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