The Case for Small Spacecraft: An Integrated Perspective on Electric Propulsion
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA SPACE AND MISSILE PROPULSION DIV
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As economies of scale were reduced in commercial and military endeavors, and with the international climate trending toward cooperation and stabilization, the aerospace industry today has taken a decided turn toward decreasing expenditures. This reduction in funding has challenged project managers and engineers to reduce the overall size of spacecraft while still accomplishing the same or similar tasks as larger spacecraft. Solutions to reconnaissance, environmental monitoring, and ground imaging are flow currently being demonstrated by small satellites. Physical reductions in the sire of overall spacecraft have been accompanied by reductions in subsystems and components. All manor of subsystems including propulsion, command and data handling, telemetry and electrical power must respond to the sire challenge of smaller mass and volumetric requirements. This applies equally to electric propulsion. Overall power requirements for a small satellite can be considered between 100-300 Watts for LEOGEO missions, and between 300-650 Watts for long duration missions. This paper will discuss the small satellite paradigm shift, unique approaches to electric propulsion integration into small satellite architectures, and develop a sample mission that focuses on enabling one of the emerging markets for small satellites using electric propulsion as the performance-merit enhancer.
- Electric and Ion Propulsion
- Unmanned Spacecraft