PowerCube: Integrated Power, Propulsion, and Pointing for CubeSats

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CD36P
Agency Tracking Number: 105552
Amount: $99,991.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solitcitation Year: 2010
Solitcitation Topic Code: S3.03
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Tethers Unlimited
WA, Bothell, WA, 98011-8808
Duns: 877425330
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Hoyt
 Principal Investigator
 (425) 486-0100
Business Contact
 Robert Hoyt
Title: Business Official
Phone: (425) 486-0100
Email: hoyt@tethers.com
Research Institution
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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