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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Integrated Propulsion and Primary Structure Module for Small Satellite and CubeSat Applications, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Over the last decade, the CubeSat platform has emerged as a viable alternative for both innovative technology development and scientific investigation. However, to fully realize the platform's potential, propulsion capability is required. For low-cost spacecraft developers, this capability remains among the most resource intensive to successfully implement. Planetary Resources Development Corporation (PRDC) proposes to significantly reduce required resources by seamlessly integrating propulsion with another critical resource-intensive subsystem: the spacecraft's primary structure. PRDC will integrate high-reliability COTS components from the medical consumer products industries into an additively-manufactured two-module primary structural element that includes integrated tank, plenum, and manifold geometries for a hybrid green monopropellant / cold-gas propulsion implementation, as well as the spacecraft's launch interface. The resulting system, called the Integrated Propulsion and Primary Structure Module (IPPSM), provides a standard interface, serving as the strongback for simple integration of other Cubesat subsystems and payloads within the 6U and 12U size regimes. During Phase II, PRDC will continue the IPPSM development initiated during Phase I, culminating in the fabrication, assembly, performance evaluation, and environmental test of a full-scale 12U IPPSM prototype with integrated RCS and high-thrust, high delta-V capability. It is expected that the completion of the above work will result in a technical maturation to TRL-6 by the end of Phase II, ready for flight demonstration. More »

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