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M3 [Missouri University of Science and Technology]

The M3 (Multi-Mode Mission) is a 3U CubeSat Microthruster Technology Demonstration Mission by the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

M3 is a technology demonstration mission that will validate operation and performance of a multi-mode-capable thruster. It will use an ionic propellant operating in electric mode with a student-developed power processing unit (PPU). It uses 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ethyl sulfate as propellant.

The objectives are to:

  • fabricate a flight-version of the multi-mode propulsion system (propellant tank, feed system, thruster)
  • integrate the thruster system into a 3U CubeSat platform
  • conduct and complete CubeSat operational and environmental tests

It was selected in 2017 by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) to be launched as part of the ELaNa program.

M≥ 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 M≥ 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.

M≥ will launch as part of SpaceXís Transporter-10 Rideshare mission, targeted to lift off at 2:05 p.m. PST (5:05 p.m. EST) Monday, March 4, 2024, from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The CubeSat will begin transmitting seven days after ejection from the deployer, and the mission ends when the batteries discharge and M≥ can no longer transmit data. Atmospheric drag will slow the satellite and reduce the altitude of the orbit until de-orbiting occurs approximately 13 years after launch.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Contractors: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Configuration: CubeSat (3U)
Propulsion: Multi-mode thruster
Power: Batteries
Mass: 3.6 kg
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
M3 2024-043 04.03.2024 Va SLC-4E Falcon-9 v1.2 (Block 5) with MethaneSAT, Jackal X-1L-001, 002, Aries 1, Quark-Lite, Gluon, LizzieSat 1, MuSat 2, ICEYE X36, X37, X38, GHOSt 4, 5, —uSat 44, YAM 6, Rose, Fifi, Riri, Loulou, Lynk Tower 05, 06, Optimus OTV 2, Pyxis, Scout 1, ContecSat 1, HORACIO, Hubble 1, 2, EWS-RROCI 2, Pony Express 2A, 2B, BRO 12, 13, HAMMER, LaCE A, B, OrbAstro TR2, SONATE 2, Tiger 7, 8, AEROS MH-1, IRIS F1, Lemur-2 184, 185, M3, PY4 1, ..., 4, Veery 0E, ONDOSAT-OWL 1, 2


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