CubeSat Developer’s Workshop 2016 at CalPoly

The 13th Annual CubeSat Developer’s Workshop was held in San Luis Obispo, CA at the California Poly Technic State University from April 20 through 22. VACCO CubeSat engineers were in attendance to support the CubeSat developer community.

The CubeSat Developer’s Workshop brought together representatives from government, academia and private companies to present research related to various aspects of CubeSat development. Presenters included Dr. Jordi Puig-Suari of CalPoly, Anthony Freeman of JPL/Caltech, Chad Frost of the NASA Ames Research Center and Anand Antony of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

A keynote speech by Dr. Puig-Suari kicked off the workshop. Dr. Puig-Suari is the co-inventor of the CubeSat reference design and since 2009, participated in five satellite development projects and seven missions. His CubeSat design specification has become an industry standard utilized by public and private institutions. Speakers who followed Dr. Puig-Suari covered topics such as the success rate of CubeSat missions, low cost spacecraft development, bulk spacecraft manufacturing, NASA’s accomplishments and plans for small spacecraft and electrical power system design.

Andrew Klesh, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory highlighted the VACCO JPL MarCO CubeSat propulsion system in his presentation. In 2018, the InSight lander is expected to begin a cruise to Mars to collect information about its interior. After InSight separates from the upper stage of the launch vehicle, two MarCO CubeSats will fly independently to Mars and transmit data to Earth during InSight’s entry, descent and landing sequence. The MarCO CubeSat propulsion system developed by VACCO has 8 thrusters; 4 for attitude control and 4 for delta-V to implement Trajectory Correct Maneuvers (TCM). The propellant utilized by the propulsion system is a cold-gas propellant: R-236FA. All of the electronics, valves and propellant are housed in one monolithic propulsion module.

VACCO looks forward to providing more innovations in CubeSat propulsion technology and returning to the next CubeSat Developer’s Workshop.

JPL MarCO CubeSat Thruster

Source: “MarCO CubeSats to Mars in 2018” By Andrew Klesh, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory