HYBRID: "Field Emission Electric Propulsion and its integration on the CubeSat CLIMB"

Industriegespräche Mittelhessen

Mo, 29.01.2024 18:00  –   Mo, 29.01.2024 19:00
Dr. Carsten Scharlemann, Head of Aerospace Engineering Programme, Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt
Justus Liebig Universität Gießen
Heinrich-Buff-Ring 14, 35392 Gießen, Deutschland
Physikalische Institute, Hörsaal III
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CubeSats have not only proven themselves as important tool in education over the last 15+ years but are also exploited to extend mission capabilities for large scale missions such as the NASA mission InSight to Mars and many other present and future missions.  Very early on, it was clear that the mission range of CubeSats could be significantly extended if they have dv capability. However, integration of electric propulsion systems in CubeSats was for a long time an unsolved problem. Main reasons for this included size, extensive (for CubeSats) power requirements, relative large thermal load on the CubeSat etc. etc. By now, several propulsion systems for CubeSats have been proposed and a small number of them have even succeeded in gathering space experience. However, no system has been as successful as the Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) System from the company ENPULSION. Their system has been flown nearly 200 times in CubeSats and Microsats.

The new CubeSat mission CLIMB of the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt (FHWN) is exploiting this and cooperates with ENPULSION. The challenge is to use a FEEP to raise the orbit altitude of CLIMB from an initial 500 km to 1000 or 1500 km. At this altitude the spacecraft will enter the Van Allen Belt, a region with significantly increased level of space radiation. Upon arrival and for about 6 months after that, CLIMB will conduct radiation monitoring and mapping of Earth’s magnetic field. Following this science phase, the spacecraft’s orbit altitude will then be slowly reduced until it enters the thicker part of the atmosphere and burn up.