CubeSat Docking and Resource Sharing Mechanism
This thesis addresses the design concept of a CubeSat docking and resource sharing mechanism that allows to transfer propellant that is pressurized gas, data, and power. In docking and capture design, the interface is equipped with two air cylinders that are rated up to 20.68 MPa internal pressure generating the ideal force of 1218.4 N each. With the designed air cylinder and mounted configuration, the maximum capture distance between the target and the chaser CubeSat is 40.30 mm. Since air cylinder and body frame are designed specifically for this interface, structural analysis was conducted in ANSYS where results show a minimum factor of safety of 1.38 on air cylinder rod. For propellant transfer, this interface is designed to transfer compresses gas at a maximum pressure of 20.68 MPa. In order to seal this high-pressure gas, force generated by the air cylinder is used to seal the static face sealing with a concept adapted from an O-ring seal. For data and power transfer, it uses spring loaded pins which requires only a small amount of force to keep them connected and almost no force to disconnect. This interface is also equipped with a camera and a docking target for autonomous rendezvous and docking. The docking target is specifically designed for this interface adopting the concept from existing docking targets, such as the International Space Station center docking target. Docking target simulation was also conducted to see the accuracy of determining the target orientation using image processing in MATLAB.