SpinSat (SpinSat) - 07.29.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The objective of the Special Purpose Inexpensive Satellite (SpinSat) experiment is to fly a 22-inch diameter spherical satellite equipped with an array of electrically-controlled solid propellant thrusters. It is intended to be a tumbling satellite having a mass of approximately 50 kg with a single axis momentum wheel and multiple micro-thrusters on the sphere’s surface.  For its initial space flight demonstration, SpinSat aims to test movement and positioning of small satellite in space using new technology micro-thrusters.
 

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending



This content was provided by Perry Ballard, Andrew Nicholas, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom SpinSat

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Perry Ballard, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
  • Andrew Nicholas, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Perry Ballard, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

  • Developer(s)
    Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory - Department of Defense (NL-DoD)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    September 2014 - March 2015

    Expeditions Assigned
    41/42

    Previous ISS Missions
    The ANDE and ANDE-RR Missions on the Space Shuttle performed similar atmospheric drag experiments.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • The objective of the Electronically-Controlled Solid Propulsion (ESP) experiment is to fly an array of electrically-controlled solid propellant thrusters for initial space flight demonstration on a 22-inch diameter spherical satellite.

    • There are three primary goals of the mission. The first goal is to characterize the performance of the ESP thrusters on orbit. The second goal is to test, stress and assess the Space Surveillance Network’s ability to observe and characterize state changes induced by the ESD firings. The final goal of the mission is to provide a calibrated drag experiment at higher solar activity than the Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment Risk Reduction (ANDERR) and ANDE2 missions.

    • A spare Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment (ANDE) spacecraft, a 22 inch-diameter aluminum sphere, is used as a test platform for the ESP technology. ESP thrusters are physically arranged on the exterior of the satellite to provide two basic maneuvers as spin-up and de-spin maneuvers, and a normal thrust maneuver. For the spin-up maneuver, pairs of thrusters, co-aligned 180 degrees apart, provide an angle force on the sphere; for stopping the spin, a 2nd pair of thrusters provide the opposite force. For the normal thrust maneuver, thrusters are oriented perpendicular to the exterior of the satellite to provide force in the normal direction. Another set of thrusters placed at the opposite pole will provide normal force in the opposite direction.

    Description

    The Naval Research Laboratory is in a partnership with Digital Solid State Propulsion (DSSP) , Inc., to perform and spaceflight demonstration of an advanced rocket/projectile thruster technology that employs a special new class of energetic but non-pyrotechnic materials known as Electrically-Controlled Solid Propellants (ESPs). ESPs have the unique property that they are ignited only by the application of electric current. Unlike conventional rocket motor propellants that are difficult to control and extinguish, ESPs can be ignited reliably at precise intervals and durations. Moreover, the technology is attractive because it requires no moving parts and the propellant is insensitive to flames or electrical sparks. The objective of the ESP experiment is to fly an array of electrically-controlled solid propellant thrusters for initial space flight demonstration on a 22–inch diameter spherical satellite. There are three primary goals of the mission. The first goal is to characterize the performance of the ESP thrusters on orbit. The second goal is to test, stress and asses the Space Surveillance Network’s ability to observe and characterize state changes induced by the ESD firings. The final goal of the mission is to provide a calibrated drag experiment at higher solar activity than the ANDERR and ANDE2 missions.

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    Applications

    Space Applications

    The Electrically-Controlled Solid Propulsion Experiment Low-Cost Demonstration and Qualification (ESP-LDQ) has well-defined flight characteristics, and the routine collection of radar tracking and satellite laser ranging data provides a high resolution atmospheric drag data set used to derive thermospheric density.
     

    Earth Applications

    SpinSat research provides high-resolution atmospheric drag data that scientists can use to determine the density of the uppermost layers of the atmosphere, the thermosphere.  Understanding the physics of the thermosphere is important in studies of space weather, which affects satelittes and telecommunications on Earth.
     

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    There are no constraints to the experiment once it is deployed from the ISS.

    Operational Protocols

    ESP thrusters are physically arranged on the exterior of the satellite to provide two basic maneuvers as spin-up (de-spin) maneuver and a normal thrust maneuver. For the spin-up maneuver, pairs of thrusters are co-aligned 180 degrees apart, and provide a tangential component force on the exterior; for de-spin, a 2nd pair of thrusters provide the opposite force. For the normal thrust maneuver, thrusters are oriented perpendicular to the exterior of the satellite to provide force in the normal direction. Another set of thrusters placed at the opposite pole provide normal force in the opposite direction. The space situational awareness component of the mission is a ground based observational plan to detect, characterize and assess state changes in the spacecraft. These observations are verified by data collected on the spacecraft by MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers used to determine the spin axis orientation and spin rate of the spacecraft before during and after thruster firings. The spacecraft itself acts as the primary sensor for the third experiment, with a well-determined and characterized ballistic coefficient the routine collection of radar tracking and satellite laser ranging data will provide a high resolution atmospheric drag data set used to deriver thermospheric density.

     

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    Results/More Information

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    Related Websites

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    Imagery

    image Final Deployed Configuration of ESP-LDQ
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    SpinSat sphere during ground preparation and inspection.  Image courtesy of Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).

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    Example of an electrically-controlled solid propellant (ESP) thruster used in SpinSat.  Image courtesy of Naval Research Laboratory.

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    Overall concept of the SpinSat investigation. Image courtesy of Naval Research Laboratory.

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    Exploded view of the SpinSat spacecraft (image courtesy of NRL).

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    Electrically Controlled Extinguishable Solid Propellant (ECESP) Microthruster.  Image courtesy of  Digital Solid State Propulsion (DSSP).

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