Yes the answer is zero now because they are weightless, but I used past tense. In any event, let's try to find a good, reliable source for each spacecraft's mass and whether that number is dry or fully-fueled.

The interesting question NanoSat/Small Satellite World Record got me thinking about the MarCOs. eoPortal's MarCO (Mars Cube One) includes the graphic below, likely from some NASA presentation. It includes the following:

MarCO Overview:

  • Volume: 2 x 6U (12 x 24 x 36 cm)
  • Mass: 14.0 kg
  • Power Generation:
  • Earth: 35 W
  • Data Rates: 62-8,000 bps
  • Delta-V: > 40 m/s

The first line gives the volume for TWO MarCO satellites (2 x 6U) so I can't figure out for sure if the 14 kg applies to the pair or to each. I'm guessing that the next line's 35 W applies to only one, so maybe each was 14 kg.

That would make the cubesat's density about 0.75 g/cm^3 which seems awfully low already considering I've speculated at something like 1.6 kg/U in Cubesat mass density (kg/U) statistics?

It's also not clear if that's dry weight or with its fire extinguishers thrusters fully loaded.

Question: Is there any independently reported mass for one MarCO satellite? If so, is it for dry or fully-fueled and loaded conditions?

Figure 4: MarCO flight system overview (image credit: NASA/JPL)

Figure 4: MarCO flight system overview (image credit: NASA/JPL)



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