Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Chris Kitts

Second Advisor

Michael Taylor


Natural disasters can seriously damage telecommunications infrastructure in affected areas, drastically limiting the channels of communication between locals and emergency relief teams. In such situations it is critical to have readily-available communications infrastructures that can be deployed and utilized as soon after the event as possible. Our mission is part of a multi-year effort to provide satellite-based amateur radio communications to areas impacted by humanitarian crises to facilitate relief efforts. Specifically, we developed the mechanical subsystems of a 6U CubeSat, a small satellite, in order to provide expanded volume, enhanced power generation, and Earth referenced orientation control compared with previous satellite platforms developed by Santa Clara University. We have designed, fabricated, and verified the bus structure, deployable solar panel array, and attitude control system of a 6U CubeSat. The satellite platform provides approximately 3000 cm3 of internal payload volume and supports 5 W of continuous power draw, while also controlling the satellite’s orientation to within 10° of accuracy. The completed satellite hardware is ready to be outfitted with electrical and communications systems.