As a pioneering research mission, STRaND-1’s reason for being is to try out new ideas and experimental technologies in space.
One such technology is the WARP DRiVE (Water Alchohol Resistojet Propulsion system), a novel new propulsion system that will help the cubesat to perform manoeuvres. STRaND-1 is the first cubesat to have two types of propulsion system. As well as the WARP DRiVE, it will be equipped with a pulsed plasma thruster system which will provide full-axis control with low power, mass and volume requirements.
WARP DRiVE works by pushing water alcohol out of a tiny hole (just 0.2mm across) to produce thrust. The main advantage of this system is that it’s much smaller than regular space propulsion systems measuring in at about the same width as a drinks coaster. The WARP DRiVE will also provide more thrust than other similar systems whilst maintaining a comparable specific impulse (the efficiency of the propulsion system).
We spoke to Dr Peter Shaw from the Surrey Space Centre about how the WARP DRiVE works…
Why alcohol? I hear you ask. Wouldn’t water alone suffice? Lead engineer Shaun Kenyon, explains why STRaND-1 needs alcohol…
See the full-size videos and visit the STRaND-1 YouTube playlist here