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CPOD (Cubesat Proximity Operations Demonstration), formerly known as PONSFD (Proximity Operations Nano-Satellite Flight Demonstration), is a two satellite cubesat mission by Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems LLC to demonstrate proximity and rendezvous operations with cubesat class satellites.

The objective of the PONSFD mission is to design, develop, and demonstrate rendezvous and proximity operations to a support inspection missions utilizing a CubeSat.

  • Utilize a Nano-Satellite Class (< 10 kg) Space Vehicle
  • Validate use of completely new set of low power miniature components and software approach
  • Demonstrate technology and operations applicable to future operational nano-satellite capabilities and operations
  • Demonstrate Proximity Operations from various distances, approach scenarios, and lighting conditions:
    • Nominal operating distances: 50 m to 2 km
    • Full range of distances: 0.5 m to 25 km
    • Demonstrate docking between two vehicles
    • Safely approach and make contact between test vehicles

The Program represents a 10× reduction in space vehicle size and program cost for a proximity operations flight experiment.

Both satellites will be launched together in a joint 6U configuration and will separeate in orbit, before they begin operations.

Each satellite contains a VACCO built self-contained Micro Propulsion System, which is mounted in the center of a 3U CubeSat. It features eight fast response, low power 25 mN cold gas thrusters.

CPOD is funded by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program within the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate and was selected in 2013 for a launch in NASA’s ELaNa program.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc.
Contractors: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc.
Configuration: CubeSat (3U)
Propulsion: 8 × fast response low power 25 mN cold gas thrusters
Power: 2 deployable fixed solar arrays, batteries
Mass: 4 kg
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
CPOD A (PONSFD A) - 2021 with CPOD B, ?
CPOD B (PONSFD B) - 2021 with CPOD A, ?