Design of a CubeSat Mission for Persistent Space Situational Awareness with Passive Optical Sensors
Alexander, Luke J.
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This paper will explore the design and implementation of a CubeSat with an electro- optical sensor for purposes of space situational awareness. The Introduction gives an overview of the current state-of-the-art for space-based space object detection. It is clear that the next step in space mission design for space situational awareness is the application of optical detection to the CubeSat form factor. The Methods and Materials section covers the abstract design parameters and theoretical concept of operations of a spacecraft that has the goal of detecting as many space objects as possible before exploring how hard- ware can be selected to best meet the goals of the science objective. The Results section discusses the requirements that were flowed down from this theoretical study to guide the development of a CubeSat to fulfill this mission profile. The Discussion then goes through the hardware selection process for every supporting flight system and treats trade studies for all major flight systems as guided by the system requirements, discussing tradeoffs and decisions that were made at all steps of the hardware selection and software design pro- cesses. An experimental concept of operations of the satellite is then proposed given the constraints that the selected hardware and operational parameters impose on the system. The Conclusion section gives an overview for the progress that has been made towards this design at the Georgia Institute of Technology with the Reconnaissance of Space Objects CubeSat and explains the next steps for this flight project with a development timeline to launch. Information on specific technical efforts can be found in the Appendix.