The popularity of the cubesat form factor has increased dramatically in the last few years. This has resulted in unprecedented access to space by smaller or medium sized organisations, universities and even smaller countries that could not afford such access in the past. However, the vast majority of the cubesats currently in orbit do not have a propulsion system. Such a system is invaluable as it can extend the satellite’s time in space, assist with space debris avoidance manoeuvres, coordinate constellation orbits and facilitate a timely and controlled re-entry at the end of the mission.
The topic of this talk is the various developments in the field of cubesat propulsion that have been achieved during the course of this PdD. These include improvements in the Wombat thrust balance facility, an improved thruster based on the Pocket Rocket electrothermal radiofrequency (RF) plasma thruster, an efficient RF source suitable for powering cubesat plasma thrusters including the pocket rocket, and a simple cold gas thruster system using naphthalene as the propellant.