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PowerCube: Integrated Power, Propulsion, and Pointing for CubeSats

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113 Bothell, WA 98011-8804
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: PowerCube: Integrated Power, Propulsion, and Pointing for CubeSats
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CD36P
Award Amount: $99,991.00


Tethers Unlimited, Inc. proposes to develop the PowerCube, an integrated power, propulsion, and pointing solution for CubeSats. The PowerCube combines three innovative components: a high-power deployable solar array able to provide up to 100W peak power to the CubeSat, a regenerative fuel cell energy storage system that doubles as a gH2/gO2 thruster, and a 'carpal joint' gimbal that enables sun pointing of the solar panel as well as precise pointing of payloads. This highly integrated system will provide power generation, power storage, propulsion, attitude control, and payload pointing capabilities that will enable the CubeSat platform to be used to perform missions previously possible only on much larger platforms. Our Phase I effort will focus on design and implementation of the regenerative fuel cell/thruster component, with the objective of maximizing orbit average power capabilities, and in the Phase II effort we will combine this power storage/propulsion technology with deployable panel and gimbal technologies we are currently developing under a separate program to create the PowerCube system. This highly-integrated, compact subsystem will provide order-of-magnitude performance improvements in several metrics for CubeSats, enabling this low-cost platform to perform challenging science and exploration missions that previously could only be accomplished by much larger spacecraft.

Principal Investigator:

Robert P. Hoyt
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Robert Hoyt
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

Tethers Unlimited
11711 North Creek Parkway South, Suite D113 Bothell, WA 98011-8808

EIN/Tax ID: 911834561
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No