Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical & Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Director

Dimitrie C. Popescu

Committee Member

Shu Xiao

Committee Member

Sharan A. Asundi


Old Dominion University (ODU) Space Systems students in conjunction with the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) are designing and developing a 3U Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) CubeSat mission aptly named SeaLion. This work specifically details the design of the Electrical Power System (EPS) and Communication System of the satellite. Electrical power in orbit is a precious commodity and must be carefully regulated and distributed to ensure the satellite’s operational health. Commonly, CubeSat electrical power is retained in orbit via outward facing solar cells and stored in onboard rechargeable batteries. This thesis proposes using non-rechargeable primary battery cells and custom hardware to maximize operational time with strict Very Low orbital lifetime constraints. Primary battery cell choice and the encompassing battery power supply design with reliability features are provided. Major functions of the EPS including voltage and current regulation and circuit protection and monitoring are also designed and analyzed for performance and reliability. The communication system consists of two half-duplex radios centered in the UHF and S-Band frequency bands to communicate with the Virginia CubeSat Constellation (VCC) and Mobile CubeSat Command and Communications (MC3) ground station networks, respectively. The design and analysis provided show the viability and cost efficiency of using primary cells and custom and readily available hardware for Very Low Earth Orbit CubeSat missions.