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Space Microgrids

In CROM, this area comprises two frameworks:CROM Space Roadmap

Microgrid Technologies for Nano and CubeSats

In response to the great interest and rapid growth of the small satellites for various space missions in LEO and beyond is nowayday emerging for diverse applications. The cube satellite (CubeSat) a class of Nanosatellite (Nanosat) with 1U, 2U to other larger classes of satellites are possible to build and launch to space. These satellites recently have gained remarkable attention from the space operators because of lightweight, small in size, modular, less built-in time and the cubic shape. CubeSats are particularly fascinating for remote sensing, Earth observation, safety purposes and agriculture applications.

On the other hand, Nanosat is very challenging because of irreparability and miniaturization. It comprised of subsystems like, Communication link (COM), Attitude Controls (ADCS) for satellite stabilization, on-board data handling (OBDH), payloads and the electrical power subsystem (EPS). The EPS attract more attention, as it is the prime subsystem to power whole satellite subsystems and payloads. The low power and generating limits make EPS critical issue for proper generation, accurate distribution and absolute power management. Furthermore, low voltage DC CubeSat EPS with distributed generations, storage and loads makes it a perfect example of a nanogrid. For a stable, reliable and efficient CubeSat nanogrid, a possible assessment is encapsulated to address all potential solutions to these issues.

The cube satellite (CubeSat)

Closed Ecosystems – Microgrids for Biological Architectures

One of the main challenges of human space exploration is the development of artificial ecosystems, also called life support systems (LSSs), which enable to sustain long duration human space missions. In an open LSS, no food generation or waste treatment is provided in space and supply from earth is necessary as shown in the figure below.

Open-loop Waste Management for Astronauts

By considering the approximate metabolic consumables and hygiene water, as well as the number of crewmembers, a huge mass would be required to be transported from earth, which brings the necessity of a regenerative or closed LSS.

A conventional Closed Ecological SystemMELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) is an EU research project aiming to develop a closed bio-regenerative LSS for long-term manned space missions minimizing support from Earth. MELiSSA has been fostered by the European Space Agency (ESA) since 1989 and it is focused on developing a CES composed of six specific microbiological compartments that reproduce the main functionalities of an ecological system in continuous mode of operation and under controlled conditions.The MELiSSA pilot plant (MPP) was built at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 2009, once a certain knowledge was accumulated about the compartments, in order to integrate them in a testing facility with high quality standards.

Melissa Pilot Plant

Melissa - Micro ecosystem in space video




Space Coillaborators



  • Presentation: "SPACE Microgrids" given at 2020 CROM Workshop on February 12th