Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Bogdan Udrea

First Committee Member

Dr. Troy Henderson

Second Committee Member

Dr. Heidi Steinhauer


The research presented here is a new testbed design for CubeSat and payload testing and development. This research demonstrates a low-cost, hardware-in-the-loop testing apparatus for use with university CubeSat programs for testing throughout the different levels of the development process. The average university CubeSat program undergoes very little hardware-in-the-loop testing. Most of the focus is the targeted towards performance testing and environmental testing which occur after completion the development process. This research shows that, for minimal schedule and cost impact, testing can occur early in the development process. The testbed presented here demonstrates suitable accuracy to be used for advanced mission testing and regularly throughout the process until completion. The testbed maintains a low-cost, modular design, and ease of integration into new and existing programs. In addition, some modifications and upgraders are suggested to further increase the performance of the testbed. The success of the testbed can be seen through the implementation of actual satellite telemetry with rendezvous and docking missions, the testbed performance, and the results of that experiment.