Electric thrusters modified mindset of University
“This was the authentic evidence that our thrusters work in space,” stated István Lőrincz, co-founder of Morpheus Space, a spinoff of the Institute of Aerospace Engineering of Technical University Dresden.
LOGAN, Utah – The University Würzburg introduced at the Small Satellite Conference that onboard electric thrusters modified the mindset of a CubeSat measuring ten centimeters on a facet, a first for one of these miniature satellites.
“This turned into the authentic evidence that our thrusters paintings in space,” stated István Lőrincz, co-founding father of Morpheus Space, a derivative of the Institute of Aerospace Engineering of Technical University Dresden.
The University Würzburg Experimental Satellite 4 has 4 one hundred sixty-gram Morpheus Nano Field-Effect Electric Propulsion (NanoFEEP) thrusters integrated into its rails, dealing with the same course. In May, venture controllers fired the thrusters, which integrate a liquid gallium propellant with a chip-primarily based neutralizer, for barely extra than six minutes.
While the thrusters fired, the satellite’s rotation multiplied from approximately 1.7 ranges per 2d to more than 4 tiers in keeping with 2nd, in keeping with “Hybrid attitude control on-board UWE-four the usage of magnetometers and the electrical propulsion system NanoFEEP,” with the aid of Alexander Kramer, Philip Bangert and Klaus Schilling of University Würzburg.
In the weeks ahead, the University Würzburg plans to hold testing the miniature thrusters. “There is plenty of test planned which include orbit change and also a simulated collision avoidance maneuver,” Lőrincz informed SpaceNews.
Companies are racing to develop miniature technology for CubeSats. One of the most difficult to provide is a miniature propulsion device.
“The assignment lies partly within the electronics and partly within the substances,” Lőrincz stated. NanoFEEP thrusters generate a high voltage in a completely small space.”
During the recent on-orbit demonstration, the Morpheus thrusters did now not produce thrust in an unmarried path as expected. A part of the ion plume created via the thrusters hit the CubeSat antenna, creating “a torque in an undesired course,” in line with the paper published Aug. 3 on the Small Satellite Conference.
In spite of that trouble, the authors are aware, “A milestone within the 1U CubeSat development become reached with the activation of an electric propulsion system,” within the paper.
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