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CubeSat Astronomy Mission Modeling Using the Horizon Simulation Framework


Alex Johnson
California Polytechnic State University

The Student Space Telescope Network is a proposed system of multiple CubeSat spacecraft capable of performing follow-up observations of astronomical targets of interest. The system is intended to serve as a space-borne platform that can complement existing systems utilized for astronomical research by undergraduate and high school students. Much research and development work has been performed to develop model-based system engineering methodologies and products for CubeSat missions, including the Horizon Simulation Framework. The Horizon Simulation Framework enables the development of system models using the Extended Markup Language (XML), and its simulation program can generate system simulations over model-specified timespans. System requirements and constraints, as well as subsystem dependencies and functions, can also be directly specified in these models.  Previous work using the framework has been performed to characterize “day-in-the-life” operations for Earth-observing spacecraft. A similar goal is intended for modelling the Student Space Telescope Network: simulating mission operations during nominal conditions to validate system and subsystem requirements. By developing this model, system and subsystem requirements derived in the course of preliminary design for the Network can be analyzed, modelled, and evaluated for feasibility. These results can then be used to inform design decisions related to system architecture and concept of operations at the early stages of design.

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