Dawn Aerospace – CubeSat Propulsion Module 1U



The Dawn Aerospace 1U CubeSat propulsion module, part of the company’s bi-propellant series of modules for 3U to 24U+ CubeSats, is ECSS qualified, readily available and designed to be simple to use. Dawn’s bi-propellant CubeSat modules can deliver significantly higher thrust compared to conventional Electric Propulsion (EP) systems and are designed to enable operators to get online rapidly, maintain performance and ensure responsible operations. Propellants can be sourced from any industrial gas supplier and operations can be tested in both ambient and vacuum environments, allowing for easy and robust on-ground integration and testing.

Key features of Dawn’s 1U CubeSat propulsion module include:

  • Cold-start capable: Yes
  • Electronics: Integrated control
  • 10 pin connector for electronics (specific connectors available on request)
  • Thrust vector control (2-axis torque stabilisation)
  • Pressure and temperature sensors for health monitoring
  • Regulatory: REACH compliant and ITAR free
  • Proof pressure: oxidiser 110 bar, fuel 40 bar
  • Burst pressure: oxidiser > 150 bar, fuel > 55 bar
  • Flow rate: oxidiser 105 to 330 mg/s, fuel 12 to 28 mg/s

Dawn’s turn-key propulsion systems for CubeSats come complete with thrusters, propellant tanks, feed systems and control electronics. Through an extensible architecture and additive manufacturing, Dawn’s modules can be configured to suit any CubeSat design. A full-service partner, Dawn can support in hardware, logistics, systems integration, propellant sourcing and onsite fueling. Dawn’s CubeSat propulsion modules have reached orbit on SpaceX’s Falcon9, Arianespace’s Vega and Roscomos’ Soyuz-2 rideshare missions.

Dawn’s thrusters range is characterized by the following:

  • Self-pressurizing propellants: No helium pressurisation systems required. This enables simple, lightweight and low-cost feed system and tank designs. Stable pressure throughout the satellite’s life ensures constant thrust and Isp of >285 s.
  • Commonly available propellants: They can be sourced from local industrial gas suppliers and are not subject to export control restrictions. They are REACH compliant and ITAR free.
  • Electric based ignition: No preheating of catalysts results in significant power savings. It also means thrusters are rapidly cold-start capable, with unlimited cold-start capability.
  • Thrusters fire in both ambient and vacuum environments: Combined with non-toxic propellants, this allows for simple satellite integration and representative hardware testing at system level with live or simulated propellants, without the need for specialised testing environments.
  • Thrusters operate in both hot and cold-gas modes: This means the same thruster can perform both high-performance burns and fine impulse manoeuvres.
  • Low power draw: with an average firing power of 12.5W per thruster while firing.
  • 6 DOF capable: through a fully integrated RCS system.