Publication Date

Summer 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Papadopoulos Periklis


CubeSat, Nanosat, Thermal Modeling

Subject Areas

Aerospace engineering


Miniaturization of electronic components enabled small scale satellite projects, such as the CubeSat, to be used for scientific research in space. Recently a team of undergraduate and graduate students at San Jose State University (SJSU) had the opportunity to collaborate on designing and building a miniature size CubeSat with the dimensions of 10x10x10 cm3. Although the integration of compact electronics allowed sophisticated scientific experiments and missions to be carried out in space, the thermal control options for such small spacecraft were limited. For example, due to the CubeSat's small size there was no room for dedicated a radiator or insulation panels. To minimize mass of the thermal control system while keeping the electronics at safe operating conditions, this thesis research was designed to study the external orbital radiation heat flux the CubeSat would be expected to be exposed to and the steady state heat conduction of the internal electronics. Numerical simulation and analytical results showed that the operating temperatures of the electronics were within the safety limits.