I. Literature Review

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НазваниеI. Literature Review
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Cost Consideration

The costing of this project is supplemental currently. The primary purchasable components are 6061-T6 aluminum, Kapton®, adhesive, inflation gas, and the CubeSat development kit. The Kapton® film has been acquired by donation, and is valued at approximately $200/lb. This saves a considerable cost in the overall project. An additional donation of the CubeSat kit mitigates that cost, which is currently $5,000.

Of the many available adhesives, Elastosil S36® (which is similar to an RTV silicone) was chosen with regards to its low out-gassing and previous use in spaceflight qualified applications. Elastosil® is produced by Wacker Chemie AG (13) and is available from various suppliers within the U.S. for around $15 per tube.

As mentioned previously the use of COTs technology allows for the cost of CubeSat development to be kept to a minimum. This is especially true of the electronics. Controllers similar to those utilized in recreational robotics can be integrated into the CubeSat, providing a cost effective solution for running software. Controllers are available from many sources with single unit costs averaging around $200 (14). A microcontroller manufactured by Atmel Corporation is currently being used for infrared remote actuation (Atmel ATMega32).

6061-T6 aluminum can be purchased in a variety of shapes and sizes. Price varies depending on the amount of shaping and forming required (cold/hot working) and surface finish. Aluminum naturally forms an oxide coating when exposed to the Earth environment, so no further surfacing is required to prevent corrosion or per NASA regulations. Raw material is available from industrial suppliers at a cost of approximately $0.10/cm3 (15). As the volume of the deorbiting device is restricted to a maximum of 150 cm3 (7), the total raw material cost for the aluminum in a single device is capped at $15.

Labor is estimated to be the largest contribution to cost during prototype development. Such tasks as milling, machining, or circuit board printing/construction will incur labor costs. Labor rates vary depending upon the location and task to be performed. Additional costs include miscellaneous wiring and electronics, as well as assembly hardware and tools. These costs should be around $120. The total cost for a single deorbiting unit, not including the cost of the Kapton® or labor, is estimated to be $193. This information can be seen in Figure 14 below. One must note that the main costs of the space-qualified design are due to custom-made parts. Due to the tight dimensional constraints of the device, a solenoid valve and gas cylinder almost certainly cannot be found as standard parts. Naturally, each custom-made part will increase the cost.

Testing demonstrations required a computer with a LabVIEW license, LabVIEW I/O Data Acquisition interface, a vacuum chamber, and lab facilities with air supply. These requirements did not present any new costs. The physics department had the necessary lab facilities, as well as an available bell jar vacuum chamber. The vacuum chamber needed to be retrofitted for a more traditional pump. However, the cost for the flange and any additional parts was covered by the physics department.

The costs incurred are itemized in Figure 21 and Figure 22. These are the costs for prototyping the design. At this point the development has been very reasonable. The ability to reuse parts or to acquire items free of charge has aided our budget. It should be noted however that the price would increase if these objects were not acquired for free.




2 Mil Mylar


Contact Cement


Gas Cylinder (from lab)


Lab air


Aluminum (from stock)


Valve (Clippard)


Circuit board


Vacuum Chamber (Testing)


Microcontroller (Testing)




Net cost:


Figure : Prototype Budget

Space-Qualified Design



Mass (g)

Upilex-S polyimide film (50µm)



Elastosil S



Aluminum 6061-T6



SUVA-236fa refrigerant



Aluminum 6061-T6 (from stock)



Upilex-S polyimide film (50µm)

included above






≥ $70

Around 11 g





Net mass (g)



Figure : Space Qualified Budget

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