The core of our technological mission is to further demonstrate the technological readiness of Electrospray Thrusters for multipurpose uses on-board nanosatellites. These thrusters uses the acceleration of ions under an applied electric field to generate thrust under low power levels of less than 0.15W. We believe that there is great potential for these low profile, size, weight, and power (SWaP) thrusters in the orbit fine-tuning and adjustment for nano-satellites.
The goal of the mission is to prove that the Electrospray thrusters from MIT’s Space Propulsion Lab can be used effectively in altitude control and orbit raising of CubeSats. Electrospray thrusters are a new technology utilizing ion liquids as propellant. This propulsion system can be easily scaled to nanosatellite sizes. The small volume Electrospray thrusters occupy allows CubeSats to have propulsive capabilities while leaving volume for other instruments.
Concepts of Operations
Once deployed from the ISS at an altitude of 400km, the CubeSat will begin the detumbling process with magnetorquers. Attitude and navigation sensors will activate and determine the satellite’s rotation rate & determine its orbital parameters. Secondary communication systems will make contact with the GlobeSat Network to confirm successful activation of core subsystems.
Between T+0 and T+6 hours, we will have magnetorquers adjust power according to current rotation rate and the primary radio relaying orbital data to our ground station. Attitude testing will begin at T+8 hours, with thrusters firing to change the satellite attitude by 30 degrees in one axis. This ADCS data will be relayed to the ground at the next available transfer window. Over T+8 and T+20 hours, the same process will be further repeated to test the thruster capabilities.
On day two, AdoreSat will begin orbit raising maneuvers including firing all of the electrospray thrusters with constant monitoring of orbital changes. This process will again be repeated twice. Finally, with the engineering test objectives complete, ADORE will use the thrusters one last time to deorbit itself and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
As part of the CubeSat development process, research and development is being conducted by the following subsystem teams:
- Altitude Determination and Control (ADCS)
- Command and Data Handling (CD&H)
- Ground Station