Propulsion Unit for Cubesats (PUC)

Propulsion Unit for CubeSats (PUC) are complete, high-performance, and compact small-satellite propulsion solutions.  The all-welded titanium bodies come fully integrated with all necessary propulsion subsystems, including microcontroller, power processing unit, micro-cavity discharge thruster, propellant valves, heaters, sensors, and software.  PUCs achieve their high impulse, low-volume capability by employing CU Aerospace Micro-Cavity Discharge (MCD) propellant heating technology, high-density and self-pressurizing liquid propellants, and an optimized low-mass-flow nozzle.  PUCs are software-configurable to operate over a wide range of power, thrust, and impulse levels.  System set-points, system status, and firing telemetry are all accessible and configurable through an RS422 serial interface.  PUCs may be customized to meet customer specific mission requirements.  PUCs are available in package sizes as small as 0.25U.

Current Propellant Options: SO2

Status: Available (~10 month lead time)

CubeSat High Impulse Propulsion System (CHIPS)

The CubeSat High Impulse Propulsion System (CHIPS) leverages CU Aerospace’s high efficiency and compact resistojet technology to significantly boost the performance of standard cold-gas systems.  A 1U CHIPS, using a non-toxic propellant, is a complete propulsion solution having a total estimated impulse of 563 N-s and a fully throttleable continuous thrust of 30 mN. The system also includes a 3-axis cold-gas attitude control system as a replacement for reaction wheels.  System set-points, system status, and firing telemetry are all accessible and configurable through an RS422 serial interface.  CHIPS may be customized to meet customer specific mission requirements.

Current Propellant Options: R134a, R236fa

Status: In-Development (Available 2016)


For pricing, availability, and further information regarding our small-satellite propulsion units, please contact Dr. David Carroll by email at or by phone at 217-239-1703.

PUC-184-SO2 Photo

Photograph 0.25U Propulsion Unit for CubeSats (Model: PUC-184-SO2)


CHIPS JANNAF Paper (June 2015)
PUC JANNAF Paper (June 2015)
PUC-SO2 Brochure (June 2014)
PUC-184-SO2 Datasheet (June 2014)
PUC-184 CAD File (stp) (June 2014)
CHIPS-R134a Brochure (December 2015)


Propulsion for Cubesats (PUC) – A Smart, Robust Propulsion System for CubeSats

Author: Gabriel Benavides/Wednesday, May 01, 2013/Categories: Conference/Proceedings

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AuthorsJ. Singleton, W. Hargus, D.L. Carroll, R.L. Burton, G.F. Benavides, N. Hejmanowski, J. Laystrom-Woodard, D.M. King, C. Day, R. Bhandari, K. Hageman, and J.M. Cardin
Conference NameJANNAF
Conference CityColorado Springs
Conference RegionColorado
DateMay 2013
Conference Publication
Note(Restricted Distribution, contact CU Aerospace)
Publication Year2013

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