Concept development of a nano-reaction control system for small satellites

Photo of the boards Danny Maas designed and fabricated
Propulsion systems on CubeSats are becoming common. As CubeSats go further than low Earth orbit, reaction control systems are necessary to control the attitude of the spacecraft and perform orbital maneuvers. In collaboration with Cal Poly CubeSat Laboratory, Maverick Space Systems is developing a propulsion system for 6U CubeSats that will use resistojets to flash water propellant to steam. In particular, Danny and Walden were tasked with the development of the avionics that will control the valves and heaters of the system, accepting commands, and relaying telemetry and sensor readings back to the spacecraft’s onboard computer. Through the SURP, the goal was to prepare for the manufacturing of a proof of concept test to be run in October 2020.

Our Team

A photo of Danny Maas

Danny Maas

Electrical Engineer

Danny Maas is a second-year electrical engineering student. He was responsible for selecting components, creating schematics, designing circuit boards, assembling the boards and testing the electrical systems of the thruster.

A photo of Walden

Walden Hillegas

Software Engineer

Walden Hillegas is a second-year software engineering student. He was responsible for writing all of the software for this project, which included code for accepting commands from a host satellite, polling onboard sensors and creating telemetry data, and executing burns for the thruster.


We would like to thank Cal Poly and Maverick Space Systems for giving us the opportunity to work on this project, and Dr. Pauline Faure for being an amazing advisor who helped us along the right path and gave us valuable advice when we hit roadblocks.

Our Project Video

Our Project's Digital Poster

Our Project Slides

Walden works on testing his code with the electrical equipment he has at home
Danny shows off the two boards he just spent hours testing and assembling
Logos for Maverick Space Systems, CubeSat, and Gosling (the proof-of-concept version of Goose)
Danny tests the newly arrived boards before starting assembly


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