Publication:
CubeSat Lunar Positioning System Enabled by Novel On-Board Electric Propulsion

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2018-02-01
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IEEE
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Due to the advances in miniaturization, CubeSats are becoming more versatile, with projected mission capabilities that are traditionally reserved for larger satellites. However, they are still limited by a lack of efficient propulsive means. A novel electric thruster based on electron cyclotron resonance heating and magnetic nozzle acceleration may provide a suitable yet simple solution. This device, while currently providing 1000 s I sp and 1 mN of thrust at 30 W of power, may enable lunar CubeSat missions from geosynchronous earth orbit using on-board propulsion. An example mission to provide GPS on the lunar surface using 3-U CubeSats in a 60°:28/4/6 Walker constellation with a semimajor axis of 4000 km is proposed; a preliminary assessment of this mission, together with the satellite architecture and cost, is performed. Concurrent trajectory design for very-low-energy transfers is used to demonstrate the feasibility of the mission and its impact on the spacecraft design.
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Cyclotron resonance, Plasma applications, Satellite applications, Satellite navigation systems, Space technology, Space vehicle propulsion
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IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, (2018), 46(2), pp.: 319-329.