Radiation Effects on CubeSats

Aimee Parsons


UNSW Canberra Space are launching two CubeSats in collaboration with the Royal Australian Air Force. It is the intent of UNSW Canberra Space to optimize the power efficiency of the CubeSat subsystems in order to maximize the operational duty cycle of the spacecraft. To achieve this, they aim to use high efficiency Switch Mode Power Supplies (SMPS) using MOSFET switching elements instead of linear regulators for the second mission. MOSFETs are known to be susceptible to radiation damage and analysis is required to determine if the MOSFETs would survive for the duration of the mission without further shielding. This radiation analysis was completed with OMERE to generate the specification of the radiation environment and FASTRAD, to produce total ionising doses at different points within the CubeSat. It was found that there are particular MOSFETs that would maintain performance requirements for mission specifications and without further shielding, however they would require further shielding if the CubeSat was placed in a medium earth orbit instead of a low earth orbit. This project also established that particular LED components on the outer side of the spacecraft would require a thin layer of shielding to display a better light output for the mission. This investigation produced a body of work that can be built on to further develop the space situational awareness and intelligence, surveillance and response for UNSW Canberra Space and the Royal Australian Air Force.

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