Date of Award

3-2013

Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor

Dr. Jordi Puig-Suari

Abstract

As development of CubeSat based architectures increase, methods of deploying constellations of CubeSats are required to increase functionality of future systems. Given their low cost and quickly increasing launch opportunities, large numbers of CubeSats can easily be developed and deployed in orbit. However, as secondary payloads, CubeSats are severely limited in their options for deployment into appropriate constellation geometries.

This thesis examines the current methods for deploying cubes and proposes new and efficient geometries using secondary launch opportunities. Due to the current deployment hardware architecture, only the use of different launch opportunities, deployment direction, and deployment timing for individual cubes in a single launch are explored. The deployed constellations are examined for equal separation of Cubes in a single plane and effectiveness of ground coverage of two regions. The regions examined are a large near-equatorial zone and a medium sized high latitude, high population density zone.

Results indicate that simple deployment strategies can be utilized to provide significant CubeSat dispersion to create efficient constellation geometries. The same deployment strategies can be used to develop a multitude of differently dispersed constellations. Different launch opportunities can be utilized to tailor a constellation for a specific region or mission objective. Constellations can also be augmented using multiple launch opportunities to optimize a constellation towards a specific mission or region. The tools developed to obtain these results can also be used to perform specific analysis on any region in order to optimize future constellations for other applications.

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