M3Sat Satellite

Spacecraft name M3 (M3Sat, Multi-Mode Mission, USIP; Undergraduate Student Instrument Project)
Form factor CubeSat
Units or mass 3U
Status Operational? (Conclusive reports not found as of 2024-05-26)
Launched 2024-03-04
Deployer ?
Launcher Falcon 9 (Transporter-10) (ELaNa 57)
Entity name Missouri University of Science and Technology
Institution University
Entity Academic / Education
Nation US
Partners Froberg Aerospace, Missouri S&T Advanced Plasma Lab

Validates operation and performance of a multi-mode micro-propulsion system.


Demonstrate a multi-mode-capable thruster that can operate with both chemical and electrical modes potentially saving mass and reducing costs for larger missions.

The Multi-Mode Mission, or M³, developed by Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Satellite research team, is a CubeSat intended to demonstrate a new way to reposition spacecraft in flight. Payloads and spacecraft need the ability to modify the path of an ongoing mission quickly and easily – for example, to avoid another object. This could be accomplished with separate chemical and electric systems, but a multi-mode propulsion system would require less mass and volume while reducing costs.

M³ will use ionic propellant, which is low in cost and readily available. The thruster on the CubeSat contains a student-developed power processing unit and feed system, that uses the ionic propellant in both modes instead of one. Once M³ is in orbit and the propellant reaches the desired temperature, the flight computer will command the propellant feed system solenoid valves to open and the power processing unit to supply power to the payload, beginning an electrospray burn.

Experimental thruster was developed in the Missouri S&T Advanced Plasma Lab in partnership with Froberg Aerospace, but it will first take a week to get acclimated to space.

The M³ team started work in 2016 and managed several hurdles, including transitioning work to future classmates and the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3] [4]
Keywords Propulsion
On the same launch

Last modified: 2024-05-30

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