Valcor Debuts New CubeSat Propellant Tanks

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Valcor Engineering Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of fluid control components and subsystems, clutches, brakes & OBIGGS systems, is proud to introduce a new product line capability: CubeSat Piston-Type Liquid Propellant Tanks.

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Space and weight are at a premium on a CubeSat, so liquid propulsion systems require compact lightweight propellant tanks that store the maximum amount of propellent in the smallest volume that can be packaged within the CubeSat Propulsion Module.

Valcor Engineering Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of fluid control components and subsystems, clutches, brakes & OBIGGS systems, is proud to introduce a new product line capability: CubeSat Piston-Type Liquid Propellant Tanks.

A CubeSat (U-class spacecraft) is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that is made up of multiples of 10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm cubic units. CubeSats have a mass of no more than 1.33 kilograms (2.9 lb.) per unit, and often use commercial off-the-shelf components for their electronics and structure.

The growth of the design and manufacture of CubeSats has created a sharp increase in demand for low cost launches. One popular solution is Ridesharing, in which CubeSats fill up vacant slots in a launch manifest of larger satellites. The cost advantage of this approach is offset by the fact that this piggy-back approach results in the CubeSat being dropped off far from its intended position. CubeSat Liquid Propulsion Systems can alleviate this problem because they can deliver a high enough delta V to reposition the CubeSat.

Space and weight are at a premium on a CubeSat, so liquid propulsion systems require compact lightweight propellant tanks that store the maximum amount of propellent in the smallest volume that can be packaged within the CubeSat Propulsion Module. In cooperation with a leading developer of liquid propulsion systems, Valcor has developed a unique piston tank design that meets these requirements with a piston guide that enhances sealing and tank stability.

Other key features include thin-wall domed end plates and nesting pistons that provide unsurpassed volumetric efficiency and the thin-wall fiber-overwrapped tank walls, affording an ultra-lightweight package. Furthermore, tank welds are located in low stress regions, enabling higher design margins. The structural integrity of the tanks has already been proven for missile defense applications with pressures greater than 900 psi, which is well in excess of the pressure capability of current bladder-type tank designs. Center line feed and propellant expulsion enable simplified interfaces and tighter packaging. Valcor’s unique end cap design also doubles as a manifold for service and other system valves.

“Overall, the Valcor Piston Tank provides the only lightweight, compact tank design that enables the higher delta V afforded by liquid propulsion systems, making it the best option for CubeSat propulsion,” stated Larry Wismer, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing. “This product compliments our thruster valve, service valve and regulator products - thereby completing Valcor’s portfolio of propulsion systems components.”

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Jennifer Eckert
Valcor Engineering Corporation
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