P16102: RIT-SPEX Structure


When dealing with new concepts, it is beneficial to adopt a set nomenclature and terminology for this project.

Coordinate Systems

Earth Centered Inertial


This model is directly from Space Mission Analysis and Design, a preeminent text for the space mission architecture community and a community standard for coordinate systems (SMAD, Section 8, Introduction to Space Mission Geometry, James R Wertz).


Area Time Units A rough analysis unit that can be scaled to represent power, but represents a time level integration of the area of solar cells facing the sun over time for a full orbit. 1 Area Time Unit represents a solar cell being incident towards the sun for a period of 10 degrees of orbit. (As of September 23rd, 2015)

Higher orbits would increase the amount of area time generated. More solar panels would increase the amount of area time generated and ultimately, using a simple conversion with We/m^2 and area power, total power generation could be estimated.

Po A created unit to convey the amount of solar panel area facing the sun per orbit. 1 Po = 1 cm2*sec/orbit

Un-deployed Area The area of the faces of a CubeSat that are touched by sunlight from one incident direction.

Deployed Area The area of the faces of a CubeSat, after deployment and turning if at all, that are touched by sunlight from one incident direction.

Loss of Mission The scientific mission is impossible to acheive due to a fault or error. In this case, the vehicle would still be able to rotate, communicate or actuate based on command.

Loss of Vehicle This discusses the destruction of the vehicle in its entirety, with no communication, operation or change to operating state possible (cannot rotate, cannot communicate, etc.)

CubeSat Specifications and Requirements

CubeSat Launch Initiative Website

CubeSat Standard

Launch Services Program CubeSat Requirements