Masters Theses


"Propulsion options for CubeSats are limited but are necessary for the CubeSat industry to continue future growth. Challenges to CubeSat propulsion include volume/mass constraints, availability of sufficiently small and certified hardware, secondary payload status, and power requirements. A multi-mode (chemical and electric) thruster was developed by at the Missouri University of Science and Technology to enable CubeSat propulsion missions. Two satellite buses, a 3U and 6U, are under development to demonstrate the multi-mode thruster's capabilities. Two key challenges related to these missions are the development of the feed system to support the thruster and management of the two bus programs' personnel, resources, timelines, and budgets.

The feed system was designed to support the unique needs of the thruster, within the constraints and budget of a student-designed propulsion system, while minimizing risk as a secondary payload. This resulted in the development of a unique method to pressurize propellant stored in the feed system tubing. Within the expected operating pressure range, the method was experimentally shown to provide sufficient pressure and propellant volume to the thruster to meet mission success criteria.

The 3U and 6U CubeSat buses were designed concurrently with complimentary payloads, hardware, objectives, and team structures, and required careful management of resources between the two teams. With proper management, the two programs have been able to support one another through collaboration. Lessons learned include experience with design, testing, and assembly of hardware, team training/mentoring and motivation, improved documentation practices, and risk management"--Abstract, page iii.


Pernicka, Henry J.

Committee Member(s)

Long, Suzanna, 1961-
Meeks, Warner C.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Aerospace Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2019


xiii, 130 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 126-129).


© 2019 Shannah Nichole Withrow, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11560

Electronic OCLC #