tech track papers
Categories: 2017, CubeSat Technology Developments
The AeroCube-6 (AC6) mission began operation in a near-circular 624×716 km 98° inclination LEO in June 2014 and consists of two identical 0.5U CubeSats (AC6-A and AC6-B) each carrying multiple experimental payloads. The CubeSats carry instrumentation for obtaining performance data on next-generation multi-junction solar cell technology flying in space for the first time. Each CubeSat’s solar cell experiment consists of two of the same solar cell, with one solar cell protected by a standard cover glass and the other cell flying without protection. The objective of the flight experiment is to observe the solar cell technology’s performance and degradation upon exposure to the space environment. Each CubeSat also has three miniature dosimeters that monitor different particle species of different energies that are associated with space weather and environmental effects on spacecraft systems. AC6-A carries the following dosimeters: a thin window low LET variant sensitive to >50 keV electrons and >600 keV protons, a thin window high LET variant sensitive to >600 keV protons, and a standard dosimeter sensitive to >1 MeV electrons and >20 MeV protons. AC6-B carries the same thin window variants and replaces the standard dosimeter with a high LET variant sensitive to >20 MeV protons only to enable particle species separation (and derivation of >1 MeV electron dose) when the two CubeSats are flying in close proximity. The observed degradation of the uncovered solar cells combined with dosimetry measurements indicate the presence of a significant population of low-energy (below a few hundreds keV) protons likely contributed to the degradation. Such CubeSat experiments are a low cost, rapid return method to study the impacts of space weather on current and future satellite components and systems.
Author: Richard P. Welle, Justin H. LeeTopic: CubeSat Technology Developments
Space Weather and Environment Effects on the Next-Generation Solar Cell Technology Flying on the AeroCube-6 Twin CubeSat MissionDownload File