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NASA SLS, Artemis I, and Cubesat: Argotec answers some questions about ArgoMoon

NASA SLS, Artemis I, and Cubesat: Argotec answers some questions about ArgoMoon

In these hours, the US space agency completes the transfer of Large space rocket NASA SLS to Artemis I . mission From Launch Pad 39B to VAB (short for Vehicle Assembly Building) to protect appliances from rain, wind and debris generated from Hurricane Ian which could damage it irreparably. This launch could be delayed by several weeks with the first useful date not being October 2nd but going much easier starting November 12th. there NASA The most accurate information will be released after the hurricane has passed.

Postponing the launch poses some risks and the need to review some procedures. for example Trip End System They will have to be certified again (but in the VAB it will be possible to replace the batteries) while nothing can be done except for additional checks for Side reinforcements With a solid state thruster which is currently in suboptimal firing conditions (but it shouldn’t be a very serious problem).

Another interesting point related to Cubesat which is inserted into a fileOrion Phase Transformer (Passive component located between the ICPS upper stage region and the spacecraft adapter. What will happen to these small satellites? It was already in the pastnow thanks ergotic We have some clarifications about Cubesat ArgoMoon.

NASA SLS for Artemis I and Cubesats: The Case of ArgoMoon

First of all, remember to choose the inclusion of ten Cubesat insideOrion Phase Transformer This is due to the fact that these small satellites do not represent an excessive payload difference. In addition, part of the direction and trajectory space launch system To put satellites into orbit that would provide useful additional information at no additional cost to dedicated carriers.

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the ten Cubesat They are: Lunar IceCube, LunaH-Map, LunIR, Omotenashi, Equuleus, Biosentinel, nya scoutsAnd CuSP and Team Miles and finally ArgoMoon. The latter is the only European (and Italian) made ergotic On behalf of the ASI. Its purpose is to depict a chapter of stages NASA SLS To provide accurate indications for the US space agency about the operation of a space rocket in orbit.

All of these models are similar, but they are not technically the same. They generally have batteries to operate and solar panels to recharge once in orbit. On the other hand, hardware systems are customized according to the purposes and task for which they are designed. Postponing the launch poses some problems with the charging state of the batteries, but in general, as the risks increase, the tasks of Cubesat They will not be particularly vulnerable.

ArgoMoon cubes for the Artemis I . mission

according to ergotic (and in particular the company’s engineers), in case ArgoMoonAnd the “The effect on the charging state of the ArgoMoon battery is rather limited [ndr. in caso di rinvio del lancio]. In these stages where NASA SLS The onboard avionics are not in the launch phase and have been completely separated from the battery pack (a condition that is not the same for all cubic satellites). This means that the batteries are built in ArgoMoon They are emptying at a somewhat limited rate because self-discharge And the fading ability Typical for lithium cells (these are 14 type 18650 cells and are never charged at maximum voltage to reduce their degradation and increase their useful life).

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The engineers added that “In any case, the ArgoMoon battery has been periodically recharged in the past months by NASA personnel following jointly developed procedures, and at present there are no risks to the success of the mission.”.

Other questions that can be asked are “How long can the cubes last without additional charges? Is there a real risk that they will be completely emptied?”. always refers to ArgoMoonthe batteries should provide enough charge for about a year (we’re talking about a 1% loss of their charge per month) but thanks to periodic recharging by NASA personnel, the effect of self-discharge And the fading ability. So it will not be necessary to replace the batteries as this may require disassembly of the satellite.


In addition to periods of inactivity, another important moment for battery management concerns the early stages of launch. In fact, since the launch NASA SLS Until the release of Cubesat (included ArgoMoon) There will be no additional power supply by the carrier. When they are in space, Cubesat will open its solar panels that will supply 80W continuously with PCDU time (Power conversion and distribution unit) that will manage the recharging of the batteries. The latter can be considered as a computer power supply the size of the SFX model even if the integrated devices and components are clearly certified to operate in a vacuum and in environments with high levels of radiation.

engineers ergotic They added that regarding delays in the launch NASA SLS an act ‘hardware aging’ (Batteries included) There should be no particular problems either for ArgoMoon or for the other cube satellites, which are, at the moment, ready for launch.

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Finally, a final curiosity regarding the differences and similarities between ArgoMoon (from Artemis I) e LICIACube (by NASA DART). ergotic We answered like both Cubesat be ‘almost twins’ Based on a platform called HAWK-6. In particular avionics, PCDU VOLTA and OBC (internal computer) FERMI, are common. To change cameras that are optimized for the specific objectives of the two missions.

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