# Building cubesat prototype using Rasberry Pi

We are doing a project in my university which is based on simple communication or GPS cubesat satellite (with only specific task not of so many functionalities), and we will be making a protoype for what i have search Rasberry Pi will be good enough but need your suggestions, therefore due to which I need some help in selecting item and in other areas.

I have seen this post

• Hello @AhmedZahid and Welcome to Space! Can you make it clearer exactly what your question is? Stack Exchange uses a fairly rigid Question and Answer format, and so until it's clear exactly what your question is, it's going to be hard to post an answer to it. Thanks! – uhoh Jan 24 at 11:32
• What are you asking? Whether or not it is spaceworthy? All depends on how you'll use it, as it can make a huge difference to the requirements whether you'll want to use it in LEO for a short while or in a MEO (as you mentioned GPS) for a longer mission. – Infrisios Jan 24 at 11:50
• @Infrisios .....thansk a lot for such a great help...actually we only want to make a prototype which could only go up to 30-40 km (which we will be launching through haloogen balloon ) and how long it could stay ...maybe one to two three days or week or could be month.we are very confused how selecting hardware.thanks again for ur support and want more support and suggestions – Ahmed Zahid Jan 25 at 10:51
• Power hungry - check. Lousy clock - check. Not even close to space qualified - check. And of course ridiculously cheap - check. Pis check all of the boxes, all but one of which is not a good box to check. It costs on the order of \$100K / U to launch a cubesat. There is no reason to be \$35 cheap when it comes to the onboard computer. Multiply that \\$35 RPi cost by ten and you're still a lot less than one percent of the launch cost. – David Hammen Jan 25 at 14:29
• @AhmedZahid 30-40km is not even in space, but you might run into other problems at that height that you won't have in space. If you'd just carry your Cubesat into space you wouldn't have to deal with the atmosphere, but in 30-40km you have a very different sitation. I am not an expert on atmospheric layers, but you'd have to expect icy cold temperatures. You might say you have this problem in space as well, but the difference is that in space you can only radiate heat, it won't be absorbed by the surroundings. In the atmosphere, it will. Might need military-grade hardware for that. – Infrisios Jan 27 at 7:37

"The Rasperry Pi" is not space worthy in general. It depends on the model. RPis are built based on various chips. The RPi B+, for example, got a LAN9514 which is qualified for an operating temperature range of 0°-70°C, so it's not exactly space worthy unless you make sure to have an adapted operating environment in the cubesat. It's also not radiation hardened, which might not be a problem for short missions in LEO, but since you mentioned GPS (which is in MEO) it could be prone to errors or even failure caused by radiation.

My recommendation for you:

First, get to know the mission specifications. How long should the satellite stay operable? What kind of orbit will the satellite be in? What kind of inputs, outputs and other specs do you require?

After that, I'd look at microcontrollers rather than single-board computers. There are space-grade microcontrollers that are being used on a professional level without being prohibitively expensive, but they might be hard to come by.

A good alternative would be looking for other cubesat projects. A lot of them might've been created for research reasons just like yours, so their components might've been partially published.

• The RPi's OS sits on a micro SD card which can be easily corrupted, especially if the power drops out. I think that there are "industrial grade" cards that can improve reliability though I don't know the details. There needs to be some external system that can restart the Pi if it freezes or locks up; they don't automatically reboot. – uhoh Jan 24 at 12:54
• thanks a lot ir such a great help ..actually the satellite we want to build is in Low orbit of about 30-40 km and how long it should be stable ,could be month or less ,need your suggestion please – Ahmed Zahid Jan 25 at 10:43
• @uhoh I've never had problems with corrupted SD cards in context with RPis. Even cutting the power while writing to the card never caused OS errors, therefor (only based on personal experience) I would say that the SD card isn't the biggest problem. But I would definitely implement a really robust microcontroller to externally reboot the Pi in case of a power outage or similar. EDIT: If the CubeSat would only be at ~35km altitude temperature (~-30°C) wouldn't be a problem but how will the sat be powered? – GittingGud Jan 25 at 10:43
• @AhmedZahid - Re Low orbit of about 30-40 km -- I suspect you dropped a zero or two. Nothing orbits at 30 to 40 km. That's in the thick of the atmosphere. Did you mean 300 - 400 km? – David Hammen Jan 25 at 14:37