I would like to say welcome! This blog is dedicated to following the progress of the XSAS Microgravity Team at the University of Michigan. The team is continuing design work and prototyping on the current XSAS model. We have been working very hard to optimize the design of XSAS and now we are starting our prototyping phase. Last semester we submitted our proposal to NASA's Microgravity Flight Program. Our proposal was selected in December with a flight date in mid June. As the first blog, listed below is some questions you may have about XSAS. Please check out our website for more information about XSAS, http://sites.google.com/site/xsasmicrogravity/. Also this blog will be updated weekly by a team member about the progress of their subsystem and the over all team, so keep posted!
What is XSAS?
XSAS is the eXtentable Solar Array System. It is a modular package that can be integrated on any standard CubeSat configuration. The system compacted into a 15 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm box and when deployed can reach up to 6 feet long.
What does it do?
As the name implies, XSAS is a deployable solar array that will help to power CubeSats. The predicted amount of power that XSAS will generate from its 16 solar panels shatters current CubeSat capabilities. Most CubeSats provide power in the range of 4-5 Watts, XSAS can provide an average power of 28 Watts. That's nearly 700% increase in power!
Why microgravity testing?
Microgravity allows all 6 degrees of freedom that XSAS will experience on an actual space mission. By testing in this environment, we should be able to come up with an accurate model for how XSAS will react as it deploys in space.
Who is working on XSAS now?
A group of undergraduate students through UM's Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory (S3FL). This team is dedicated to developing XSAS to be tested in microgravity. The XSAS principle investigators are Andrew Klesh and Patrick Senatore.