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Small Spacecraft Technology

Ion Propulsion System and Orbit Maneuver Integration in CubeSats

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Ion Propulsion System and Orbit Maneuver Integration in CubeSats
An integrated cubesat propulsion and control system is proposed that provide three-axis attitude control and orbit maneuver capability using a micro radio-frequency ion thruster. A control algorithm will be developed for robust attitude control (for pointing solar arrays etc.), plus trajectory optimization for maximum orbit change. Propulsion system integration issues, such as interacting magnetic fields between the propulsion and attitude control systems, will be investigated and addressed in the control algorithm. The possibility of thrust vectoring will be researched. The results will quantify the maneuver capabilities that can be expected of future small spacecraft using electric propulsion systems. More »

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