Temperature Distribution in CubeSats using the Finite Element Method

  • Ashraf Khater

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This thesis focuses on designing an accurate thermal model for MYSat-1 CubeSat. In this work, the effects of various thermal sources affecting CubeSats in orbit are considered. A detailed thermal model of MYSat-1 was developed using Ansys Workbench software. Each component in MYSat-1 has different thermal requirements that need to be considered to be able to function without issues. The average heat incidents on each surface of MYSat-1 for a whole day are calculated using CubeSat Wizard software. A simulation was conducted for a whole year, from this simulation three days were selected to perform the simulation in Ansys. Steady-state condition thermal analysis was considered to reduce the computation time. This thesis also gives details on the assumptions made during the study. The results of Ansys simulations were compared with the housekeeping data of MYSat-1 and CubeSat Wizard. The finding of this study showed that for the day of interest where housekeeping data is available, there is a difference of 0.45 ℃ between the average temperature of the CubeSat obtained from the CubeSat Data and the Ansys FEM model, which is considered acceptable. The hot-day case has a significant difference of 14 ℃, and a difference of 2 ℃ between the actual CubeSat data and the results of the FEM model.
Date of AwardMay 2021
Original languageAmerican English


  • CubeSat
  • Thermal modeling
  • Ansys Workbench
  • Finite element Method.

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