Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Continuous Solar Observation from Low Earth Orbit with a Two-Cubesat Constellation
by Kampmeier, Jennifer Lauren, M.S., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2018, 79; 10746150
Abstract (Summary)

The goal of this work is to assess the feasibility of using a two-CubeSat constellation to make continuous solar science measurements from low Earth orbit. There is a growing interest in using CubeSats for scientific missions since they are relatively inexpensive, can be manufactured quickly, and they have a standard form factor. CubeSats have increased access to space, and there is a growing interest in the solar science community to be able to conduct remote sensing solar science missions from a CubeSat platform. By using a constellation separated by differential drag, this mission concept enables continuous measurements of the sun, allowing scientists to have a complete record despite the spacecraft's eclipse periods. In this thesis, I have developed a two-body propagator that takes various inputs for starting altitude, density model, attitude, and spacecraft configuration to enable investigation over a large trade space. Following the model development, I ran a series of simulations to explore the feasibility of this concept, finding that there are many combinations of parameters that produce a feasible mission design. I show that the model is validated by altitude decay data from the MinXSS CubeSat, I will discuss areas of the design that require further study, and I explore the logical next steps for future development of this concept.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Marshall, Robert A.
Commitee: Kubitschek, Daniel, Palo, Scott
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Aerospace Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 57/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Aerospace engineering, Atmospheric sciences
Keywords: Constellation, Cubesat, Differential drag, Low Earth orbit, Mission design, Solar science
Publication Number: 10746150
ISBN: 9780438044586
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