Minimize PROITERES

PROITERES (Project of Osaka Institute of Technology Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship)

PROITERES is a student-built nanosatellite mission of the Osaka Institute of Technology (OIT), Osaka, Japan. The overall objective is to demonstrate powered flight on a nanosatellite with an electrothermal PPT (Pulsed Plasma Thruster) device. The satellite project was started in the Mechanical Engineering Department of OIT in 2007. The PPT technology concept has already been studied at OIT since 2003 to understand the physical phenomena and to improve the thrust performance with both experiments and numerical simulations. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

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Figure 1: Artist's rendition of the powered flight of the PROITERES nanosatellite (image credit: OIT)

Spacecraft:

The nanosatellite has the shape of a cube with a side length of 30 cm and a total mass of 15 kg. The main satellite frame consists of duralumin A7075 panels. Both, a mass dummy and the engineering model of the satellite were safe under all vibration tests required from ISRO.

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Figure 2: (a) Engineering flight model of PROITERES, (b) structure under ANSYS analysis and static analysis (image credit: OIT)

PROITERES is three-axis stabilized. The ACS (Attitude Control Subsystem) uses sun sensors (Hamamatsu Photonics), 3-axis gyros (CRS03-02S, Silicon Sensing Systems, Japan), and a 3-axis magnetometer (HMR2300, Honeywell) for attitude sensing; attitude control is provided by magnetic torquers and an extended gravity gradient boom. The sun sensor (S5991-01 of Hamamatsu Photonics) is made with a two-dimensional position sensitive detector and a cover plate with a pin hole. 6)

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Figure 3: Illustration of the PROITERES nanosatellite (image credit: OIT)

C&DH (Command & Data Handling) subsystem: C&DH features two high-performance main computers (OBCs) which are run under the Linux operating system. The on-board communications are performed with a TCP/IP LAN (Local Area Network). The two computers are watching each others operational performance; each one can reboot the other when it fails. Some of the most important tasks, such as attitude control, are executed by both computers for redundancy reasons while other tasks are allocated among them for load balancing.

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Figure 4: Schematic view of the C&DH subsystem (image credit: OIT)

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Figure 5: Photo of the two OBCs (image credit: OIT)

EPS (Electric Power Subsystem): Electric power is generated by silicon solar cells on five surfaces of the satellite except for the bottom surface. The solar cells are connected in 26 series and 4-6 parallel connection per one solar panel. The minimum electric power of 10 W will be generated and distributed by a PSU (Power Supply Unit). Two bus voltages of 5 and 12 V are provided, and that of 12 V is used for electrothermal PPT operation. The power storage is provided by the NiMH battery of Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.

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Figure 6: Photo of the solar array top panel (left) and of the assembled satellite (right), image credit: OIT

RF communications: The communication subsystem is equipped to provide the following functions:

1) Mission data transmission

2) Control and maintenance of the satellite

3) Tracking support of the satellite.

Amateur radio frequencies are being used (UHF, 430 MHz band). Three beams are provided:

• D1 beam (Telemetry: FM/BFSK)

• D2 beam (Beacon: CW/Morse)

• U1 beam (Command: FM/BFSK).

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Figure 7: Block diagram of communication subsystem (image credit: OIT)

Transmitter and receiver (Nishi RF Lab. Custom made module): This module transmits AX.25 packet (telemetry data) to the ground station by the FM method at a rate of 1200 bit/s via the dipole antenna. The module also transmits Morse codes (beacon signal) to the ground station. As for the receiver function, this module receives the FM signal (command) and sends AX.25 packets to the TNC (Terminal Node Controller).

Communication controller (UNISEC Custom made module): The communication controller mediates onboard computer and the Nishi RF Lab module. The functions of this unit are follows:

• Encapsulation of AX.25 packet (Terminal Node Controller)

• Modulation and demodulation of binary FSK (BFSK) data

• Configure the phase lock loop and frequency, PTT of the Nishi RF Lab module.

Antennas: In the PROITERES satellite, the same frequency, 430MHz band is used for the transmission and the reception. Thus one antenna is installed in the satellite. As for the antenna type installation, a half wavelength dipole antenna and an inverted L antenna are considered.

Spacecraft mass,

14.5 kg

Spacecraft size (in stowed position)

29 cm x 29 cm x 29 cm

Attitude control

Magnetic attitude control, gravity-gradient stabilization
Actuation: magnetic torquers

PPT (Pulsed Plasma Thruster)

Technology demonstration

Electric power

10 W minimum

Table 1: Some spacecraft parameters

 

Launch: The PROITERES nanosatellite was launched on Sept. 9, 2012 as a secondary payload on the PSLV-C21 vehicle of ISRO from the SDSC (Satish Dhawan Space Center) SHAR, the main launch center of ISRO on the south-east coast of India, Sriharikota. The primary payload on this flight was SPOT-6, a commercial imaging satellite of EADS Astrium. 7)

Orbit: Sun-synchronous orbit, altitude = 660 km, inclination = 98.2º, local time at descending node (LTDN) = 9:30 hours.

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Figure 8: Schematic view of the deployed PROITERES spacecraft (image credit: OIT)

 

Mission status:

• June 2013: The spacecraft and its payload are operating nominally. The PPT performance in the PROITERES-1 mission reached a total impulse of 5.0 Ns with no misfirings. 8) 9)

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Figure 9: Photo of the Kansai district with the Yodo River from the PROITERES satellite (image credit: OIT)

 


 

Experiment/sensor complement: (PPT, Camera)

PPT (Pulsed Plasma Thruster):

The PPT technology is expected to be used as a thruster for small satellites. The PPT concept has some features superior to other kinds of electric propulsion. It has no sealing part, a simple structure and high reliability, which are benefits of using a solid propellant, mainly Teflon®, referred to as PTFE (Poly-Tetra-Fluoro-Ethylene). However, performances of PPTs are generally low compared with other electric thrusters. 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18) 19)

Following an extensive multi-year R&D (Research & Development) effort of electrothermal PPTs with side-fed-type propellant feeding mechanisms at OIT, a low-power PPT was developed for the PROITERES spacecraft (Figure 11). The input energy is about 2.5 J.

This PPT has a small cavity diameter of 1.0 mm. The highest total impulse of 1.6 Ns after 10,000 shots was obtained with 9.0 mm. A cavity length of 9.0 mm is being used for the satellite.

For the PROITERES mission, one PPU (Power Processing Unit), two capacitors and four PPTs will be installed on the spacecraft; during powered flight demonstrations, two PPTs will be operated in parallel. The PPU has a mass of 710 g, a size of 100 mm x 100 mm x 50 mm and a power consumption of 5 W.

 

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Figure 10: Schematic view of the PPT concept (image credit: OIT)

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Figure 11: Photo of the PPT device head (image credit: OIT)

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Figure 12: Photo of the PPU and capacitor for the PPTs (image credit: OIT)

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Figure 13: Operational diagram of PPT system (image credit: OIT)

 

Camera system:

A high-resolution camera system is being developed. The objective is to provide in particular some spaceborne imagery of the Kansai district in Japan (where OIT is located). The optical system has five-lens system with a focal length of 85.3 mm and a f number of 3.6. The mass is 230 g, and the length and diameter are 109 mm and about 50 mm, respectively. Accordingly, the optical resolution is 30 mm for the CMOS sensor. After accurate alignment between the optical system and the CMOS sensor with a special facility shown in Figure 16, the camera system will be installed onboard the satellite.

The CMOS detector features 2048 x 1536 pixels (3Mpixels) with a pixel size of 3.2 µm x 3.2 µm.

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Figure 14: Photo of the CMOS detector (image credit: OIT)

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Figure 15: Various engineering model view of the camera system (image credit: OIT)

Legend to Figure 15: a) Cross-sectional drawing of optical system, b) Outline view of optical system, c) Side view of optical system, d) Front view of optical system.

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Figure 16: Photo of the alignment device (image credit: OIT)


1) Tomoyuki Ikeda, “Research and Development of an Attitude Control System for Osaka Institute of Technology Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship,” Proceedings of the 27th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science) , Tsukuba, Japan, July 5-12, 2009, paper: 2009-s-02f

2) Hitoshi Kuninaka, Kimiya Komurasaki, “Advancing Japanese Electric Propulsion,” Proceedings of the 30th International Electric Propulsion Conference, Florence, Italy, September 17-20, 2007, IEPC-2007-358, URL: http://erps.spacegrant.org/uploads/images/images/iepc_articledownload_1988-2007/2007index/IEPC-2007-358.pdf

3) Hirokazu Tahara, “Development of Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for OIT Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship,” 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, July 21-23, 2008, Hartford, CT, USA, AIAA 2008-4643

4) Tomoyuki Ikeda, Jun-ichi Ozaki, Shunsuke Araki, Masaya Nishizawa, Yoichi Inoue,Takafumi Iguchi, Hirokazu Tahara, Yosuke Watanabe, “Research and Development of Nano-Satellite PROITERES Series at Osaka Institute of Technology,” Proceedings of the 28th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science), Okinawa, Japan, June 5-12, 2011, paper: 2011-j-21

5) Shuya Kisaki, Rikio Muraoka, Chen Huanjun, Masato Tanaka, Naoki Egami, Tomoyuki Ikeda, Hirokazu Tahara, Takashi Wakizono, “Research and Development of Osaka Institute of Technology PROITERES Nano-Satellite Series with Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thruster Systems,” Proceedings of the 29th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science), Nagoya-Aichi, Japan, June 2-8, 2013, paper: 2013-b-15

6) Shunsuke Araki, Tomoyuki Ikeda, Jun-ichi Ozaki, Masaya Nishizawa,Yoichi Inoue, Takafumi Iuuchi, Hirokazu Tahara, Yosuke Watanabe, “Development of an Attitude Control System for Nano-Satellite PROITERES,” Proceedings of the 28th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science), Okinawa, Japan, June 5-12, 2011, paper: 2011-j-21s

7) “PSLV-21 - 100th Indian Space Mission,” ISRO brochure, Sept. 4, 2012, URL: http://www.isro.org/pslv-c21/pdf/pslv-c21-brochure.pdf

8) Rikio Muraoka, Chen Huanjun, Shuya Kisaki , Masato Tanaka, Hirokazu Tahara, Takashi Wakizono, “ Proceedings of the 29th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science), Nagoya-Aichi, Japan, June 2-8, 2013, paper: 2013-b-13

9) Tsuyoshi Kawamura, Kenya Fujiwara, Kenta Uemura, Rikio Muraoka, Chen Huanjun, Shuya Kisaki, Masato Tanaka, Hirokazu Tahara, Takashi Wakizono, “Research and Development of Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thruster Systems for Osaka Institute of Technology PROITERES Nano-Satellite Series,” Proceedings of the 29th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science), Nagoya-Aichi, Japan, June 2-8, paper: 2013, 2013-b-55p

10) Naoki Egami, Takaaki Matsuoka, Masaaki Sakamoto, Yoichi Inoue, Tomoyuki Ikeda, Hirokazu Tahara, “R&D, Launch and Initial Operation of the Osaka Institute of Technology 1st PROITERES Nano-satellite with Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thrusters and Development of the 2nd Satellite,” Proceedings of the 33rd International Electric Propulsion Conference (IEPC), Washington D.C., USA, Oct. 6-10, 2013, paper: IEPC-2013-100, URL: http://www.iepc2013.org/get?id=100

11) N. Egami, T. Matsumoto, M. Sakamoto, Y. Inoue, T. Ikeda, H. Tahara,” R&D, Launch and Initial Operation of the Osaka Institute of Technology 1st PROITERES Nano-Satellite and Development of the 2nd and 3rd Satellites,” 29th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science, Nagoya Congress Center, Nagoya-City, Aichi, Japan, 2013, paper No. ISTS 2013-f-12.

12) Masamichi Naka, Masato Tanaka, Hirokazu Tahara, Yosuke Watanabe, Takashi Wakizono, “Development of Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thruster System Flight-Model onboard Nano-Satellite PROITERES,” Proceedings of the 28th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science), Okinawa, Japan, June 5-12, 2011, paper: 2011-b-03

13) Masato Tanaka, Masamichi Naka, Hirokazu Tahara, Yosuke Watanabe, “Flowfield Calculation of Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for Nano-Satellite PROITERES,” Proceedings of the 28th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science), Okinawa, Japan, June 5-12, 2011, paper: 2011-b-61p

14) Jun-ichi Ozaki, Tomoyuki Ikeda, Shunsuke Araki, Masaya Nishizawa, Yoichi Inoue, Takafumi Iguchi, Hirokazu Tahara, Yosuke Watanabe, “Development of Nano-Satellite PROITERES with Electric Rocket Engines at Osaka Institute of Technology,” Proceedings of the 28th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science), Okinawa, Japan, June 5-12, 2011, paper: 2011-b-13

15) Shunsuke Kuroki, Hiroki Tagaki, Yushuke Ishii, Go Yoshimoto, Yuki Miyai, Hirokazu Tahara, ”Research and Development of Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for Project of Osaka Institute of Technology Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship (PROITERES), Proceedings of the 26th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science (ISTS), Hamamatsu City, Japan, June 1-8, 2008, paper: 2008-b-54p

16) “Electric Rocket Engine System R&D,” URL: http://www.oit.ac.jp/elc/~satellite/image/engine.pdf

17) Minetsugu Yamada, “Progress of Project of Osaka Institute of Technology Electric-Rocket-Engine onboard Small Space Ship,” Proceedings of the 27th ISTS (International Symposium on Space Technology and Science) , Tsukuba, Japan, July 5-12, 2009, paper: 2009-s-05f

18) Jun-ichi Ozaki, Tomoyuki Ikeda, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Masaya Nishizawa, Shunsuke Araki, Hirokazu Tahara, “Development of Osaka Institute of Technology Nano-Satellite “PROITERES” with Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thrusters,” 32nd International Electric Propulsion Conference, Wiesbaden, Germany, Sept. 11 – 15, 2011, paper: IEPC-2011-035, URL: http://erps.spacegrant.org/uploads/images/images/iepc_articledownload_1988-2007/2011index/IEPC-2011-035.pdf

19) Masamichi Naka, Ryuta Hosotani, Hirokazu Tahara, Yosuke Watanabe, “Development of Electrothermal Pulsed Plasma Thruster System Flight-Model for the PROITERES Satellite,” 32nd International Electric Propulsion Conference, Wiesbaden, Germany, Sept. 11 – 15, 2011, paper: IEPC-2011-034, URL: http://erps.spacegrant.org/uploads/images/images/iepc_articledownload_1988-2007/2011index/IEPC-2011-034.pdf


The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: ”Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors” (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates.