Design of perspective small-size spacecraft with electric propulsion engine

Space technologies


Vlasenkov E. V.1*, Kombaev T. S.1*, Kraynov A. M.2**, Chernikov P. S.1*, Shakhanov A. E.2***

1. Research and Production Association named after S.A. Lavochkin, Kaluga Branch, 17, Oktyabrskaya Str., 17, Kaluga, 248000, Russia
2. Lavochkin Research and Production Association, NPO Lavochkin, 24, Leningradskay str., Khimki, Moscow region, 141400, Russia



This work can be used at designing small-size spacecraft with electric propulsion engine. It shows one possible option of design and layout scheme of small-size spacecraft with electric propulsion engine. The opportunity of producing such spacecraft is shown.
The main results of this research are the design and system characteristics of small-size spacecraft. It was taken into account that spacecraft transfers to the Moon after packet launch.
The flight scheme consists of the following stages:
Coplanar interorbital flight from pericenter of starting high elliptical orbit (circular orbit H = 42164 km, i = 51.4°) to an intermediate circular orbit;
Transfer from an intermediate orbit to collinear libration point L1 of the Earth-Мoon system;
Transfer from L1 to target polar circle orbit of Moon satellite with altitude 100km.
As a propulsion system was chosen engine КМ-60 (power 670 Wt, thrust 36 мН, spesific impulse 1716 sec, service life 4100 hours), mounted on two-stage drive.
Mass balance spacecraft for starting orbit H = 42164 km, i = 51.4° is:
Payload-11,8 kg;
Board control - 26,4 kg;
Radio system and antenna system - 7,2 kg;
Power system – 70 kg;
Propulsion system (with working body) - 118,3 kg.;
Thermal condition system - 4,00 kg;
Cable network - 9,00 kg;
Construction - 12,00 kg;
Brackets, small parts, standards - 5,00 kg;
Reserve – 20,00 kg;
Adapter with separation system - 13,00 kg;
Total – 296,70 kg.
Time of flight to polar Moon orbit 100km-high in described work statement is near 700 days.
There are some questions that have to be solved while designing this spacecraft. Some systems have to be miniaturized and adapted for use at small-size spacecraft, for example, electric propulsion engines are rarely used at spacecraft and work systems have low standardization and used for heavy spacecraft have high mass-and-dimensional characteristics. Mainly it refers to electric power supply which power is high due to presence of electric propulsion.
However Russian astronautics has got backlog of producing high-efficiency electric power systems with small mass-and-dimensional characteristics
That’s why in producing small-sized spacecraft the main attention should be paid to electric power systems design. . It is also worth noting that for the chosen engine the guaranteed life at the moment is less than the required
The results of this work can also be used in design of spacecraft for researches of asteroids that orbiting at Earth orbit. As orbits of such asteroids have different inclination it is useful to choose orbits with inclination close to future orbits of heavy-weight Spacecrafts. It’ll give an opportunity to reduce flight time and increase mass of the payload.


small-size spacecrafts, electric propulsion engine, design, Moon researchers, on-board equipment


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