Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Robert A. Marshall
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.
Kampmeier, Jennifer Lauren, "Continuous Solar Observation from Low Earth Orbit with a Two-Cubesat Constellation" (2018). Aerospace Engineering Sciences Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 204.