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Utilizing High Altitude Balloons as a Low-Cost CubeSat Test Platform

Hall, Hunter and Chamieh, Matthew and Chu, Jonathan and Daruwala, Rohan and Duong, Van and Holt, Samuel and Jeong, Daniel and Lally, Michael and Nguyen, Luan and Rafizadeh, Ramin and Fah, Peter Soon and Weng, Kyle and Yuan, Christine and Derewa, Chrishma and Stoica, Adrian (2020) Utilizing High Altitude Balloons as a Low-Cost CubeSat Test Platform. In: 2020 IEEE Aerospace Conference. IEEE , Piscataway, NJ, pp. 1-11. ISBN 9781728127347.

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While building and launching a CubeSat is lower in cost compared to a standard satellite, verifying the flight-readiness of CubeSat hardware and software prior to launch remains a costly and time-consuming process. During the summer of 2019, student-interns under the Innovation to Flight (i2F) program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) utilized high altitude balloons (HAB) as a means of performing preverification tests on an in-house built 6U CubeSat bus and mock internal payload. The team also tested a Qualcomm Snapdragon flight computer onboard the a HAB, as the computer's first high-altitude tech demonstration. The entire flight vehicle was designed to simulate a generic JPL 6U CubeSat to be flown on the Zephyrus X HAB flight demonstration. The Zephyrus X flight demonstration took place on August 2nd and flew to a near-space environment of ~36 km (~120,000 ft) experiencing almost identical thermal and environmental conditions that it would experience on orbit as well as being far enough away from the team to test long-range comms. The entire launch cost (excluding the cost of the CubeSat) was under $1,000, showing that one could successfully test many components and conditions in one flight test for pre-verification testing, saving thousands of dollars and many hours.

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Additional Information:© 2020 IEEE.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200828-150014861
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Official Citation:H. Hall et al., "Utilizing High Altitude Balloons as a Low-Cost CubeSat Test Platform," 2020 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT, USA, 2020, pp. 1-11, doi: 10.1109/AERO47225.2020.9172333
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105151
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Aug 2020 22:09
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:40

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