Design of a Radioisotope Powered Cubesat Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/d791sj164

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  • Miniature satellites called cubesats have been gaining increasing popularity in both academic and private spaceflight ventures. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has recently been accepting design proposals for a cubesat mission to Europa, where solar and battery power would be inadequate power sources. In this thesis, a radioisotope powered cubesat was developed from a theoretical design and tested, first using computer software and finally using a physical scale model. Specifically, Solidworks was used to verify if the on-board electronics, Thermoelectric converter, and structure could survive the thermal load of an Americium power source. An electrically heated model was used to verify the Solidworks results. The computational results bore little resemblance to the physical model temperatures; some temperature predictions were accurate while several were off by several hundred degrees. During the physical test, the thermoelectric generator was able to withstand the high temperatures and generate usable electricity. The circuitboard was only a few degrees above survivable temperatures, however uncertainties in the experimental framework prevent a conclusive answer as to whether it could survive in space. More research into radioisotope-powered cubesats with more exhaustive methods and with test conditions more characteristic of the conditions in space are needed to validate this technology. Key Words: Cubesat, Thermoelectric, Radioisotope, Americium, Thermal, Radiation
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Brice McConnell (mcconnbr@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-08-17T00:32:42ZNo. of bitstreams: 2license_rdf: 1223 bytes, checksum: d127a3413712d6c6e962d5d436c463fc (MD5)McConnellBriceD2016.pdf: 20218426 bytes, checksum: 8ad807986ad9074e22ce65e5ca11b7f2 (MD5)
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