Thrust Stand with Nano-Newton Resolution

Technology #14869

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Subrata Roy
Jignesh Soni
Managed By
Lenny Terry
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending US-2016-0202131-A1

Measures the forces generated by small satellites with more precision than available products

This thrust stand is suitable for very minute force measurement applications. It has nano-Newton resolution. Specifically, compared to existing products, it more accurately gauges the vibrations and thrust produced by thrusters in small satellites. Because they are more economical to manufacture and maintain, small satellites are increasingly used in tasks that were once carried out by larger spacecraft. They already represent a multi-billion dollar global market. These miniature spacecraft execute maneuvers using forces much smaller than those associated with traditional spacecraft. Orbital corrections, attitude control, and vibrations are measured in micro or nano units. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed an inexpensive, compact, vacuum-compatible thrust stand that features nano-Newton resolution for taking more precise measurements.


Thrust stand with nano-Newton resolution for more accurately measuring the vibrations and thrust produced by small satellites


  • Features nano-Newton resolution, improving the accuracy of thrust measurement
  • Allows for more sensitive vibration detection, providing a competitive advantage in security procedures
  • Created with inexpensive materials, lowering production costs
  • Compact and vacuum-compatible, enhancing versatility


This thrust stand, which boasts nano-Newton resolution, is more sensitive than many available technologies for measuring the vibrations and thrust generated by small satellites. Logarithmic decrement calibration improves accuracy and allows for measurements in the 10-20 nano-Newton range, which is ideal force balance. The thrust stand can incorporate a passive eddy current-based damper and does not require close-loop feedback control. It is compact in size, fully vacuum-compatible, and incorporates components that identify and reduce noise. The thrust stand can also assess forces generated by standard macroscale dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma actuators and/or other thrust producing devices.