Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS)

by James Mason, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)

Thermal analysis of Miniature X-ray Solar SpectrometerThe Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) 3U CubeSat is a loaf-of-bread sized spacecraft currently in low Earth orbit. Its science objective is to measure the energy distribution of soft x-ray sunlight. This part of the spectrum is precisely where the greatest enhancement from solar flares -- explosions that amount to more than 1000x the total world energy consumption over the last 42 years  -- is expected. MinXSS measurements will aid in our scientific understanding of flares and their influence on the Earth's upper atmosphere. MinXSS was designed, built, and is operated at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU) Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). 

The MinXSS science measurements depend on the success of the spacecraft as a whole. Temperature is a critical component to that success. At LASP, we used Thermal Desktop to predict the orbital temperature range for each component of the spacecraft and provide confidence that those components would stay within their operational limits. Furthermore, the science instrument needs to be kept quite cold (-50 ºC), so Thermal Desktop was used to test thermal designs that could achieve this important thermal requirement. We also created a model of our thermal vacuum chamber and ran simulations to compare to our thermal balance testing, which provided us with confidence in the model orbit predictions. Overall, Thermal Desktop enables a level of precision prediction that would be prohibitively labor intensive otherwise. The GUI makes visualization of the model intuitive and the depth built into the straight-forward menus provide a level of control and fine-tuning that match our needs for satellite design. 

Click here to learn more about MinXSS


Thermal Desktop, RadCAD, and TD Direct in-class training

Date: April 9-12, 2019, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily
Location: Lakewood, CO

Registration deadline: March 27, 2019

CRTech will be hosting introductory training for Thermal Desktop, RadCAD, and TD Direct. Lecture and hands-on tutorials introduce you to basic Thermal Desktop and RadCAD usage and provide practice building models and interpreting results. The class will also introduce you to the SpaceClaim CAD interface and advanced meshing tools in TD Direct. The specific location of the training will be provided upon registration.

Daily Schedule

Day 1 and 2: Introduction to Thermal Desktop and SINDA/FLUINT
Day 3: Introduction to RadCAD
Day 4: Introduction to TD Direct

To learn more about this class and to register, visit our Training Page.