Development of a Cold Gas Propulsion System for a 1u Cube Satellite

Norma Alicia Perea, University of Texas at El Paso


In efforts to further the development test capabilities of nanosatellites on earth, NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) is developing a Magnetic Levitation Table (MLT) for ground testing of nanosatellites. Testing of the table requires dedicated test articles that employ space-like systems, but those that can be used in the confines of a small lab testing area. In collaboration with WSTF, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Center for Aerospace Exploration Technology Research (cSETR) is developing an 1U cold gas propulsion cube-satellite demonstrator (CGD) to test capabilities of the levitation table. A 1U cube satellite was designed with a cold gas propulsion system. The cold gas demonstrator, weighing 1.5kg, uses cold gas thruster configuration. The CGD uses refrigerant R-134a as the propellant as it is stored in liquid state requiring a lower fill pressure and maximizes the propellant quantity. Four thrusters are placed to provide uniaxial translation around the x-axis and rotation about the y-axis. Movement of the CGD is controlled by throttling miniature solenoid valves that feed directly to the thrusters. This work outlines the development of an integrated, self-contained propulsion unit dedicated for use as a ground-based attitude control test bed demonstrator.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering

Recommended Citation

Perea, Norma Alicia, "Development of a Cold Gas Propulsion System for a 1u Cube Satellite" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28088724.