Delivery of CXT Payload for CUAVA-2

ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs & Their Applications

CUAVA is excited to announce the delivery of the CXT, in preparation for integration into the CUAVA-2 Satellite, scheduled for launch in early 2024.  

The Charge Exchange Thruster (CXT) is a novel electric propulsion system invented and developed at the University of Sydney. It was developed by CUAVA partners Richard Bowden-Reid, Joe Khachan, and Iver Cairns, all working within the School of Physics, University of Sydney.   

Image: CXT Flight model for CUAVA-2. Image shows the aperture through which the neutrals leave the thruster (middle lower metal plate), the CXT electronics on the green PCB, and the surrounding metal casing.

The device uses fundamental atomic processes within a discharge plasma to produce a plume of very high-velocity neutral particles (>100km/s), generating thrust without the need for external plume neutralisation systems. The CXT aims to address the shortage of available electric propulsion systems for nano-scale CubeSats. The CXT is simple to manufacture using standard machining techniques and is highly flexible, in principle offering a wide selection of viable fuels and a broad range of operational powers (< 1Watt to 100 Watts).  

The CXT is a powerful yet compact unit measuring 100mm x 90mm x 37mm and weighing approximately 350g. Laboratory testing of the thruster system has demonstrated an achievable thrust of 2-5 micronewtons for a peak power consumption of 3 Watts. By carrying out a program of experimental validation in orbit, it is hoped that the CXT will demonstrate itself as a viable thruster system for future CubeSat missions. 

We now commence integration into the CUAVA-2 CubeSat, in preparation for launch in early 2024. Congratulations to the CXT team! 

Keep up to date with our news and events blog as we spotlight CUAVA-2 payload deliveries.

Image: CXT Flight model for CUAVA-2