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Cubesat work worthy of attention

In anticipation of the upcoming Cubesat multi-launch and in response to the
debate on this list, I've been looking more closely at some of the missions
these projects are undertaking. While they are all worthy projects, here
are some that I think could positively contribute to future amateur
communications satellites:

The double-sized ION cubesat from University of Illinois has as its primary
mission the testing of a micro vacuum arc thruster, as described in this
quite readable paper:
The paper points out: "Validation of this system will enable its future use
for attitude control, orbit maintenance, and perhaps even orbital maneuvers
such as orbit raising/lowering and de-orbit." There has been speculation on
this bb about launching into LEO and getting up to a better footprint using
some sort of propulsion. This appears to me to be the sort of experiment we
need some amateurs to undertake in order to make that happen on the cheap.

More than one project is working on getting additional solar panel exposure
out of the cubesat design, research that might improve amateur
communications satellites in small packages. Texas A&M's presentation of
work that is in design phase is at

If I understand correctly, Hausat-1 (launching in the next group) and Prism
also are exploring this field.

Then there are the sheer number of solar panels and battery combinations
which are getting tested in space, as well as the earth and space science
being undertaken.

I'd be interested in what others thought were keen ideas in the Cubesat world.

73, Bruce 
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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