REGULUS is a complete and compact propulsion unit for CubeSats. REGULUS design is based on a Magnetic Enhanced Plasma Thruster (MEPT), with a simple architecture and no grids or neutralizers, and its targets are CubeSat platforms ranging from 6U up to 150 kg satellite, as well as CubeSat carriers. Moreover, it is versatile and it can work with different propellants without significant geometry modifications. It is conceived to be “Plug & Play” to avoid difficult integration procedures, and it is built with standard interfaces and without relying on space-grade qualified components to reduce the recurring costs.
REGULUS has been developed following ESA ECSS Space Engineering Standards, in some cases applied with reference to the “Tailored ECSS Engineering Standards for In Orbit Demonstration CubeSat Projects” document. EM, QM and FM models are produced following ECSS-E-HB-10-02A standard.
REGULUS ended its qualification campaign in end 2019 and the Flight Model is under construction. The demonstration in-orbit will take place in Q3 2020 onboard UniSat-7, a microsatellite designed by the Italian company GAUSS. In UniSat-7, the propulsion system is integrated with all the electronics, fluidic line, iodine tank and structure into a 1.5 U envelope, with a total mass of approximately 2.5 kg. In this 1.5 U version, REGULUS will provide 0.55 mN thrust and 550 s of specific impulse at 50 W of input power, with a total impulse up to 3000 Ns. In this version REGULUS is operated with iodine propellant.
The complete UniSat-7 mission objectives are to inject several satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit of about 600 km height and to act as a technology demonstrator, testing specific payloads which will be used in subsequent GAUSS CubeSat missions. During the overall mission, REGULUS will demonstrate the advanced capabilities of Unisat-7 with electric propulsion on board. Several REGULUS operations will be performed, such as the variation of altitude for the imaging payload operations, the simulation of orbital operations to spread CubeSats injection into different orbits and UniSat-7 decommissioning. REGULUS will also prove UniSat-7 capabilities of drag compensation and orbital maneuvers.
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Last updated: 2020-01-30