Nothing beats reality
So, at the moment we have a 2U CubeSat structure on loan from our friends at Gran Systems from Taiwan. It would be a shame not to use this opportunity to try to see how best to fit the Demo-1 Orbital SFE Space Drive System in this form factor. Already, we have learned a lot about what is the most practical approach to the flight system.
Since day one we have always thought that we would need a 3U CubeSat structure to perform the mission, but as you can see in the picture below, that may not be the case after all. Simulating components in a CAD program like Fusion 360 is hard when you are not sure what components you are going to be using for the final build and you have to build them from scratch.
Using some 3d printed components from other CubeSat missions it was very easy and fast to get a feel for how much space we will probably end up taking inside a CubeSat. We also learned something about building CubeSats that is not in the Cal Poly Guide. These are things you only learn from other experienced CubeSat builders.
We currently have two experienced CubeSat builders in our group, and they are the key to our future Dem0-1 mission success.
I am going to be adding a few more components to this model to see if the anticipated final flight configuration can actually fit in a 2U CubeSat. If it does, we might go this route. That decision will be made months down the line. So, stay tuned.