2017.B.3.1. A High Energy and Green Monopropellant Propulsion Module for CubeSats


Xuhui Liu (1)
Yan Shen (1)
Tuoqu Fu (1)
Wei Zhang (1)
Jun Long (1)

  1. Beijing Institute of Control Engineering, China




ADN green monopropellant; micro monopropellant propulsion module; additive manufacturing; solid cool gas generator; cubesat


With the rapid development of cubesat technology, space missons tend to be diversified and complex. The high quality cubesat platform, interplanetary cubesats, and cubesats formation flying have put forward higher demand for the orbit control ability. The micro monopropellant propulsion module with high total impulse and rapid mobility is carried out in this paper.

The module with ADN green monopropellant contains propellant tank, service valve, thrusters, pressure sensor, filters and so on. Through the switch control by the solenoid valve, propellant is injected to catalyst bed by the injector, and then dissociated into high temperature and high pressure gas. The module integrates the control circuit, which communicates with the on-board computer directly. The circuit collects the data of pressure, temperature , drive generator, non-toxic micro thruster and so on.

The module is realized by additive manufacturing processes that will reduce the cost and fabrication time.  It can greatly reduce the dry weight of the entire system by 40% than the conventional propulsion system. The total impulse per unit volume is improved from the usual value of 400N·s/L to 800N·s/L.

The system equipped with micro chemical thrusters which affords 200mN thrust can provide greater thrust to achieve rapid maneuverability. It is easy to expand the module’s scale to provide different velocity increment magnitude, according to different mission requirements of 3U~12U cubesats. The thruster has been designed according to flow field simulation and firing test. The specific impulse of the thruster reaches 200s, and the roughness of the combustion pressure is less than 3%.

The module can be prepackaged with shelf management. The module is based on ADN , which is a low toxic and high energy propellant. The propellant can be pre filled before launching. Compared with hydrazine propellant, it has advantages of low toxicity, high density and high specific impulse. The module with pressuring method by solid cool gas generator can realize the atmospheric storage. The gas production efficiency can reach above 40%. The specific impulse can be increased by 10% by self pressuring.

The micro monopropellant propulsion module can provide higher total impulse and thrust, which can realize the rapid maneuverability of cubesats orbit maneuverability with wide range, the long-life orbit maintenance ability and so on. In this paper, the design of the module, the calculation of chemical reactions of the micro thruster, and the verification of the method for realization of additive manufacturing are completed.


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