Design, Fabrication, Testing and Modeling of a Vaporizing Liquid Micro-Propulsion System

T. van Wees, Caspar Hanselaar, E Jansen, Angelo Cervone, Barry Zandbergen, Henk van Zeijl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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In the last decade, CubeSat development has shown the potential to allow for low-risk, low-cost space missions. To further improve the capabilities of CubeSats in large scale missions, a novel micro-propulsion system is being developed at Delft University of Technology. The system is based on a Vaporizing Liquid Microthruster (VLM), which is manufactured by means of Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology. It aims to achieve a specific impulse of 100 s and thrust of 1.4 mN, using water as propellant. This paper presents a status update of the development project. Design solutions are shown to circumvent manufacturing tolerances in the wafer-bonding and sealing of the interfaces of the VLM. Secondly, performance analysis based on a 1D-flow approximation is shown to provide a useful tool to quickly predict VLM performance. Next, a detailed design of the propellant storage tank for the CubeSat micro-propulsion system is presented. Finally, the test plan and test setup for the VLM are elaborated, presenting solutions to determine chamber temperature and pressure without directly sensing it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpace propulsion 2016
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSpace propulsion - Marriott Rome Park Hotel, Rome, Italy
Duration: 2 May 20166 May 2016


ConferenceSpace propulsion
Abbreviated titleSP2016
Internet address


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