Environmental testing and thermal analysis of the NPS Solar Cell Array Tester (NPS-SCAT) Cubesat
Smith, Kerry D.
Newman, James H.
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This thesis describes the development of a working thermal model of the Naval Postgraduate School's first CubeSat called NPS-SCAT and the accomplishment of environmental testing that has been completed to date in preparation for space launch. The primary mission of NPS-SCAT is to act as a Solar Cell Array Tester (SCAT), providing data on solar cell performance of various solar cells in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). As part of the satellite development process, a detailed test plan was developed and environmental modeling and testing were completed to test SCAT's ability to survive and function in the space environment. A thermal finite element model (FEM) was developed in NX-6 I-deas to analyze and predict the component thermal response to the space environment. Environmental tests, including thermal vacuum (TVAC) and vibration testing, have been completed using profiles determined by the expected launch and on-orbit conditions. The data obtained from these tests validated the thermal model and proved that SCAT would survive the launch conditions and could successfully operate in the space environment.
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