How long do cubesat take to start up completely after they are deployed?

I know the cubesat standard requires 30 minutes after initial separation from the launcher to deploy deployables such as antennas and solar panels and another 15 before transmitting RF signals.

After this the system has to go through ground station acquisition, system validation and the trajectory determination before nominal operations can take place. Assuming no system failures, roughly how long does that tend to take?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site! I don't think this has an answer @Nathan, there are too many variables: hardware, software, mission, etc. $\endgroup$ – GdD Jun 7 '18 at 11:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GdD I think the OP is interested in a rough idea, a few examples would be a great answer. No need for an insta-close to prevent people from posting an answer. Why not give it a day or two and see what happens? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 7 '18 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ By "Start up" I take it the OP means be fully tested and operational? In my mind "start up" means computer up and running, which is usually within seconds when the separation switch opens and the computer is energized. $\endgroup$ – Carlos N Feb 27 '19 at 15:30

It depends, but it could be a long time. Most Cubesat ground stations only have a single station. It could take as long as 12-16 hours to be in coverage of a specific ground station. The validation might be very small, or very large. It could take an hour, or days, but not likely much more then days.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, I take it you know this from personal experience? $\endgroup$ – Nathan Jun 7 '18 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ It is hard to say anything more specific, but... Most cubesats don't require a lot of on orbit testing, usually because they are just not expensive enough to spend significant amounts of time. I haven't worked with high end cubesats, so it is hard to say more then that... $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jun 7 '18 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathan an interesting addition to your question, or maybe as a follow-up question might be to ask about a particularly short case. Something like "How quickly has a cubesat..." or "Has a cubesat ever established contact with the ground within an hour or two?" or taken its first measurement or photograph, etc. That way one example would be enough. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 7 '18 at 15:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.