CLIMB is our new CubeSat mission which will explore the Van Allen Belt. Starting from LEO at roughly 500 km altitude, we will raise the orbit to about 1000 km altitude. The propulsion system for this maneuver, a so-called IFM, will be provided by ENPULSION (https://www.enpulsion.com ). Naturally, having a propulsion system on board a 3U CubeSat drives its design in multiple ways, e.g. wrt power, CoG, attitude control and also the thermal control system. In order to invest the latter, we have designed and built a thermal model of CLIMB and a very special thermal vacuum chamber (TVC). The TVC is special in as much as it allows operation of the thruster at full power during the TVC test. ENPULSION was super supportive and provided a thruster test unit and technical support for this test. The left part of the picture shows the Z- face of CLIMB with the satellite integrated in the TVC and the right side shows it during firing.
Long story short, we had a very successful test. Our TCS operates as expected and we obtained a lot of data to further optimize it. This test and the confirmation of our TCS design is a big step in the development of CLIMB. Further important mile stones are ahead of us this year, so stay tuned! Updates can also be obtained here: https://cubesat.fhwn.ac.at/
Last but not least, we need to say Thanks. In addition to the FHWN aerospace engineering students (in particular, Kaarel, with the thermal model) who contributed to all of this, a special thanks go out to the ENPULSION staff who provided the test model of the IFM and technical support (thanks Valentin!) and the FOTEC staff who contributed their extensive testing knowledge throughout the development of CLIMB.
This project would not be possible without the generous and continuous support of the department for “Wissenschaft und Forschung” of Niederösterreich (https://www.noe.gv.at/noe/Wissenschaft-Forschung/Wissenschaft_Forschung.html ). Many thanks for believing in us.