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Feasibility of Utilizing Current Propulsion Technologies in Support of Very Low Earth Observation Space Platforms

Dakka, Sam

Authors

Sam Dakka



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Sam Dakka
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Abstract

An emerging low earth orbit spacecraft platform is being sought after due to many advantages of operation at low earth orbits of altitude less than 450Km. These encompasses better imagery and enhanced communications capabilities in addition of spacecraft debris self-clearing. However, operation at low earth altitudes requires a propulsion system that can counter react the atmospheric drag which is the dominant force acting on the spacecraft. The paper, therefore is focused on measures and methodology to select off the shelf ion thrusters in order to enhance the life time of low earth orbiting platforms. The study is focused on three types of ion thrusters manufactured by Busek. Models investigated are the BIT-1, BIT3 and BIT-7. The analysis, revealed, BIT-1 thruster is suitable for larger CubeSats at elevations beyond 300 km. Smaller CubeSats provide too little power and cannot provide the required thruster power. BIT-3 thruster is only suited to large CubeSats (24U and upwards) as they can gain the solar power required to run the thruster. BIT-7 thruster is unsuitable for any CubeSat arrangement as its required thruster power level that is beyond the means of the CubeSats in question. BIT-7 would be more suited to larger satellites. The analysis is based on solar energy consumption of non-deployable solar panel. The analysis and methodology implemented will accelerate the development of spacecraft platforms by relaxing the design requirements through selecting off the shelf suitable propulsion system. This will also reduce the time requirement for design and development and will lower the cost associated with development.

Start Date Sep 30, 2019
Publication Date Oct 2, 2019
Institution Citation Dakka, S. (2019). Feasibility of Utilizing Current Propulsion Technologies in Support of Very Low Earth Observation Space Platforms
Publisher URL http://proceedings.kaconf.org/papers/2019/ka15_2.pdf
Related Public URLs http://proceedings.kaconf.org/edizione.php?edizione=2019#
Additional Information Copyright © 2009 - 2019 Ka and Broadband Communications, Navigation and Earth Observation Conference, All Rights Reserved.

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