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Author Topic: Small Satellites  (Read 502 times)

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Offline QuetsilquatlTopic starter

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Small Satellites
« on: January 26, 2014, 03:24:02 PM »
This is a place for all aerospace fans to collaborate on the leading trend of small satellites and getting involved.  Small satellites are the next step in making aerospace more mainstream because of cost of parts and feasibility of missions.
There are some extremely hard questions to answer that a simple google and wikipedia search simply cannot answer.

Some important topics to discuss:
How to get your satellite on a rocket and survive!
Troubleshooting problems from ground control.
Power control.
Heat dissipation.
Radiation hardened electronics/ effects of radiation on electronics and what to do about it.
Orbital mechanics: passive and/or active controls.
Cool mission ideas.  (What would you do with your own personal satellite?)

Personal:
I'm a big space nerd and I love working on robots.  I'm currently on the design of my second CubeSat and I'd thought I'd broaden my horizons and get some fresh ideas from this community.  I believe that listening to everyone's idea is the best way to innovate.

FYI: if anyone is interested in building a CubeSat, the standards are posted on Cubesat.org.

Offline gerard

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Re: Small Satellites
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 11:26:49 PM »
I don't think you want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a small box that you will throw into space....
Unless its a sponsored university project, nobody has that kind of money to just throw away.

Offline jwatte

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Re: Small Satellites
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 10:36:57 AM »
Actually, the payload cost is about $5k per kilo. The construction is as cheap or expensive as you want to make it. Hint: non-space-certified components are likely to fail in a vacuum, and if you're going beyond the stratosphere, radiation hardening is probably a good idea.
There's actually a hobbyist micro-satellite project that can get your satellite costs down significantly! I think that's what OP is talking about.
A better forum for such discussions might be an amateur satellite dedicated forum, though, such as http://www.cubesat.org/ or whatever.

Offline waltr

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Re: Small Satellites
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2014, 11:11:37 AM »
Another organization is AMSAT which is where these very small satellites (originally called 'microsats' and based on a standardized size cube) where first conceived of, built and launched in 1990.
http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/satellites/sat_summary/ao16.php

http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/satellites/sat_summary/microsats/


Offline QuetsilquatlTopic starter

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Re: Small Satellites
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2014, 07:42:44 PM »
waltr, I have not heard of this before.  Thanks for the info.

jwatte, luckily a 1U cubesat is only one kg. 
I think the duration of the mission will also determine the need for rad hardening.  I think a 1-3 month mission wouldn't need a whole lot of hardening or none at all.  But that's my guess.  Have you read anything on effects of radiation on electronics?  If so, care to share where?
I hadn't found any such forums on cubesat.org... although I was also thinking outside the cubesat realm as well.  For example, the balloon project mentioned on SoR.

Offline waltr

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Re: Small Satellites
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 08:20:09 PM »
rad hardening
Did you try Wikipedia?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hardening

I'm sure that these low cost, short mission length cubesats do not have rad hardened components but just some method to reset/re-boot. Since these are purely for educational purposes errors/failures are not critical to their mission. There are also fairly easy and inexpensive methods to add redundancy which can help to prevent issues from radiation.

Another neat idea that started with AMSAT's microsats is that their are small enough to fit into the payload section with a commercial satellite. This made them very economical to launch. These become popular with universities around the world and with the further reduction of size and power of electronics they have shrunk from the microsat size (226mm cube) to the cubesats (100mm cube).

 


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