Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering


Ahsan A. Choudhuri

Second Advisor

Joel J. Quintana


Aerospace Center formerly known as cSETR at UTEP is a NASA funded center of excellence in aerospace and exploration, focusing on strategic capability development in propulsion and robotic lander, lunar surface exploration, and small spacecraft technologies. To support the center’s mission for space exploration and to demonstrate advancements in small satellite technologies, the Aerospace Center at The University of Texas at El Paso is on track to develop and launch several CubeSats in next few years. A CubeSat is a small satellite that has become popular in recent years due to their low cost, low complexity and short development timeline. Though CubeSats are less sophisticated than traditional satellites, there are still operational challenges that must be evaluated, such as communication access with ground stations, compliance with orbital debris mitigation regulations, orbital lifetime, power budget analysis, attitude control, and radiation dangers. UTEP Aerospace Center’s four major small satellite projects and missions have been presented in this dissertation. First CubeSat project of Aerospace Center is known as Orbital Factory 2, which is a 1U CubeSat deployed into Low Earth Orbit to demonstrate in-space repair of a simulated tear on solar cells. Next mission presented in this dissertation is known as Orbital Factory 4 (OF-4), a 3U future CubeSat of Aerospace Center which will be launched into a highly eccentric Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) with United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Launch Vehicle sometime in the next few years to demonstrate high distance communication capability. Third project is focused on testing setup and propulsion control unit development to test performance of 1N, AFM315E thrusters that will be incorporated with a 2U Small Sat for attitude maneuvering. Lastly a 1U demonstrator CubeSat development process has been illustrated which is a Cold Gas based small satellite propulsion unit. The demonstrator unit shall be transformed to a flight-ready unit to provide attitude maneuvering support to CubeSats.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

97 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Ashiqur Rahman