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SBIR/STTR

Ultracapacitor Based Power Supply for CubeSats, Phase II

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Traditionally, the relatively small surface area and volume of a cube satellite has restricted the practical power limit of cube satellites. To the extent that the power will be generated by solar panels, cube satellites have a limited round trip energy budget. Increasing solar panel efficiency and complexity alleviates the energy issue to some degree. Both however, occur at the expense of the original cube satellite advantages of being inexpensive, small, and reliable. As such, the objective of high power capabilities must also assume fairly short time scales in order to preserve the energy budget. It's this mode of operation, maximum energy and short high power events, where hybrid system designs typically make practical sense. In all cases, the energy storage requirements will depend on the payloads power profile and mission requirements. Cube satellite payloads are becoming more sophisticated and, in many cases, power hungry. Interesting high power payloads currently in development for small satellites include Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and mechanical actuators for performing larger satellite maintenance. In order to continue the trend of increasing cube satellite capabilities, it's important to be ready with energy storage that is both capable of supplying high power and flexible to suit the range of payload possibilities. The hybrid ultracapacitor module proposed is a flexible, high efficiency, novel design that will enable satellite engineers to quickly and easily realize benefits such as extended battery lifetime, high peak power, and smaller size and weight that may be possible through a hybrid energy storage system. Additionally, the technology will translate to additional multifunctional, structural applications such as microsatellites, light aircraft, ordinance, and many more. More »

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