TigerSat is University 3U Cubesat Using a New Plasma Propulsion #spaceaccess2019

TigerSat is using a novel modified Hall Thruster on a 3U cubesat satellite testbed. It uses passive magnetic control.

The Hall Thruster was made smaller for cubesats and uses a new solid fuel instead of xenon gas. It does not have a pressurized chamber which takes away risk for ride-sharing on the launch.

They are looking for 2.7km/second change in velocity for a 1 kilogram of fuel. Using more fuel they could get from low earth orbit to geosynchronous.

They are looking to build this for the low tens of thousands of dollars. They are eliminating the reaction wheels for cost and space saving.

They are targeting an ISP of 1500. It would take more voltage in order to increase the ISP.

They are using a solid fuel wall-less hall thruster. The new plasma thruster design retains incredible efficiency while scaling to very small sizes. With low thrust throttling capabilities, the design is viable as both main propulsion for deep space missions and attitude control for large satellites. Two thrusters are included on the spacecraft for redundancy as well as to support the passive control system.

Princeton’s TigerSat’s payload will be a novel plasma thruster with a power requirement of around 200 Watts. Normal cubesats typically uses around 15-40 Watts.

They are using off-the-shelf (OTS) components that are not space-rated where possible. Careful electrical design does ensure that components and wiring harnesses are properly rated for the appropriate electrical characteristics.

SOURCE – Live coverage of Andrew Redd’s talk at Space Access 2019
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

1 thought on “TigerSat is University 3U Cubesat Using a New Plasma Propulsion #spaceaccess2019”

  1. Something like this, that used scrap aluminum or other materials from junk already in orbit, or used upper stages as reaction mass could “power” my space tug. Grind up the aluminum, turn it to plasma bit by bit with a laser, and accelerate out the back side of the tug using the Hall effect. There is nothing more dear to the heart of a true engineer, than turning a waste product, into a valuable resource!

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