NASA’s (PTD) project will test the operation of a variety of novel CubeSat technologies in low-Earth orbit, providing significant enhancements to the performance of these small and effec¬tive spacecraft.

The PTD-1 currently under develop¬ment and slated for launch in 2019, will dem¬onstrate a system with a water-based propellant. While in orbit, the system separates onboard water into hydrogen and oxygen propellants by applying an electric current through the water. The system uses the on-orbit power provided by the arrays to power the miniature water elec¬trolysis system. The demonstration will test performance through programmed changes in spacecraft velocity and altitude executed by the water-fueled thrusters.

The PTD series of missions is managed and funded by the Small Spacecraft Technology (SST) pro¬gram within the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

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Video Credit: Small Spacecraft Technology Program

Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator-1 (PTD-1) Spacecraft Concept, courtesy of Tyvak NanoSatellite Systems, Inc.

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