1 National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark2 Measurement and Instrumentation Systems, National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark
Space science is subject to a constantly increasing demand for larger coherence lengths or apertures of the space observation systems, which in turn translates into a demand for increased dimensions and subsequently cost and complexity of the systems. When this increasing demand reaches the pratical limitations of increasing the physical dimensions of the spacecrafts, the observation platforms will have to be distributed on more spacecrafts flying in very accurate formations. Consequently, the observation platform becomes much more sensitive to disturbances from the space environment. This project is thus concentrating on developing a method by which an entire, ecient, control system compensating for the disturbances from the space environment and thereby enabling precision formation flight can be realized. The space environment is initially studied and the knowledge gained is used to deduce the requirements for a propulsion system consituting the actuator part of a control system eliminating the disturbances from the space environment. Due to the minute magnitudes of the forces to be delivered, this type of propulsion has been denoted Micropropulsion. Initially a theoretical study of the disturbance forces and their influence on a precision controlled spacecraft, is used to deduce the requirements for a micropropulsion system compensating for these. Following this an LTCC based resistojet microthruster is developed and fabricated, utilizing water as fuel. Towards the end of the project, a proof of concept has been conducted, by proving the principle is working in atmospheric conditions. The solution to evolve the concept into being applicable for space applications is then given.