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As technology has developed over the years, small form-factor satellites known as CubeSats have been able to replace much larger and conventional earth satellites. Solar arrays are placed on the outside of the CubeSat to generate power for their mission. In order to increase the performance and energy absorption of the CubeSat, the solar array can be configured to deploy and move to track the sun as the satellite moves in its orbit. This research project involves design modeling of various mechanisms configurations to achieve this increase in performance and efficiency, while minimizing the complexity and thus weight of such a mechanism. The three mechanisms explored involve one with a single vertical axis of rotation, one with a single horizontal axis of rotation and a third with a universal type joint for two degrees of freedom. In order to increase the range of motion of the mechanisms, the solar array is elevated away from the rest of the CubeSat via a Sarrus linkage mechanism.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Andrew P Murray, Dave Harry Myszka

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium poster


Presenters: Dillon Montgomery Balk, Ben Markus Millard

Design Modeling of Various CubeSat Solar Arrays Configurations