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Questions tagged [cubesat]

Type of satellite in the shape of a cube 10 cm on each side. Popular with academics and amateurs with a focus on off-the-shelf components.

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Did the NASA PhoneSat actually try to use the GPS from the phone itself?

I was reading this article about NASA's PhoneSat Flight Demonstrations and came across this sentence. "To achieve this, NASA's PhoneSat design makes extensive use of commercial-off-the-shelf ...
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How can the two MarCO cubesats remain reliably close to InSight during their six month trip to Mars?

According to the NASA JPL web page Mars Cube One (MarCO) Mission Overview and the YouTube video MarCO: First Interplanetary CubeSat Mission linked there, after the Centaur upper stage deploys InSight, ...
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What regulations, agreements, or other forces can help mitigate "PrankSats"? [closed]

comment: I've used a somewhat innocuous abstraction of 'pranks in space' below, but there's no end to the trouble that could be caused and the increasing ease with which a state (nation or otherwise) ...
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4 votes
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Will JAXA try again to launch TRICOM-1 with the "world's smallest orbital rocket" SS-520-4 again?

From the Spaceflight 101 article Experimental Launch of World’s Smallest Orbital Space Rocket ends in Failure: SS-520-4 lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center in Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture at 8:...
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If there "won't be" rockets to launch individual cubesats, then why did JAXA build exactly that? (SS-520-xx)

The question Why isn't there a rocket to launch a single cubesat? has several good answers that explain why there isn't and/or will not likely be one, based mostly on commercial viability, consistent ...
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12 votes
5 answers
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Why isn't there a rocket to launch a single cubesat?

I find the business model for RocketLab interesting. It is said that they fill a niche in the market by using smaller rockets. And it is true, in comparison to e.g. Falcon 9's payload of 9,500 kg, ...
Mikael Lindqvist's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
385 views

Cubesat mass density (kg/U) statistics?

The stuff of which COTS cubesats are made (aluminum, silicon, G10/FR-4, battery) has a density in the ballpark of 2 to 3 (g/cm^3) while vacuum is roughly 0. I'd always figured that cubesats built from ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
729 views

Could an articulated permanent magnet work as a low-power cubesat magnetotorquer? Problems?

Conventional magnetotorquers for cubesats are electromagnets that produce torque in the Earth's magnetic field, and nearly all of the power they use just heats the copper through $\text{I}^2 \text{R}$ ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
531 views

How does the Satellite Networked Open Ground Station operate? How is it used?

SatNOGS, the Satellite Networked Open Ground Station (mentioned in this answer) appears to be a distribution of independently maintained amateur DIY satellite receiving ground stations, linked by a ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Are the cubesats deployed from the ISS always directed "nadir and retrograde"?

@Tristan's answer to What are the orbital mechanical consideration behind hand-launched nanosatellites from the ISS? includes: If you launch nadir and retrograde, you will put the object into a ...
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16 votes
4 answers
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Current situation with CoCom regulations and GPS receivers for balloons and cubesats

I wanted to ask this at aviation SE because they are quite rules-and-regulations oriented there, but this question is not (really) about aviation. I'm trying to understand the current situation for ...
uhoh's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
680 views

What are the orbital mechanical consideration behind hand-launched nanosatellites from the ISS?

The NASA Spaceflight article Extended Russian EVA complete – conducts satellite deployments says: The first order of the day was for Ryazanskiy to head into the manual deployment of five ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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MARS-CAT; What is a Cubesat Ambipolar Thruster and how does it work?

Trying to understand ion thrusters a little, I started looking at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion_thruster#Propellants where I saw: The CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster (CAT) used on the Mars Array of ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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What body of regulations (if any) would apply to a cubesat with an SDR on board?

For example: the FUNcube Dongle Pro+ is a USB Software Defined Radio receiver, or SDR. It provides a digitized 192kHz wide chunk of IF (intermediate frequency) via high speed USB interface. Generally ...
uhoh's user avatar
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24 votes
4 answers
7k views

Is the Pi really fit for outer space?

Recently, there has been growing interest in using Raspberry Pis in CubeSats. NASA is even in on the trend. But, considering that outer space is pretty harsh on electronics (i.e. radiation and cosmic ...
Aloha's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
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How do cubesat owners first find out their cubesat's initial trajectory? How do they point antennas at it before official TLEs start to appear?

When cubesats are first deployed it can sometimes take several days before they start appearing in official TLE distributions, and even then if many were deployed it may take a lot more work to decide ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
287 views

What can be done in future mass-cubesat deploys to make them "less irksome" to orbital space debris experts?

In the first group of questions below the block quotes, I've illustrated situations where a large number of cubesats are deployed at one launch (56 an 104 satellites) and it seemed to take quite a ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
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What are the prospects for comms with cubesats using "normal" internet connections?

Can a cubesat in orbit be operated like a R/C airplane in real time? edit: if the link here and the end aren't clear, I'm interested in the ease and convenience of access, the frequency of possible ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Mayak, a magnitude -10 (minus ten) satellite; how is the large, delicate reflector expanded?

The July 14, 2017 NASA Spaceflight article Soyuz 2-1A launches with Kanopus-V-IK and over 70 satellites says: Mayak is a three-unit CubeSat which was built by Tvoii Sektor Kosmosa – or “Your Sector ...
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25 votes
3 answers
5k views

How serious a problem can outgassing of satellites be?

As I was reading the Cubesat standard, one of requirements is low outgassing "to prevent contamination of other spacecraft". It also gives a link to a NASA-approved list of low outgassing ...
SF.'s user avatar
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19 votes
5 answers
4k views

Passive attitude stabilization with magnets - are there studies based on actual flight data?

Specifically with the small satellite and cubesat people, there is an rather 'old' idea around: Passive attitude stabilization based on permanent magnets. Schematic of the Earth magnetic field lines ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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Could a cubesat be self propelled to the moon from LEO?

Is it possible with current technologies to propel a cubesat, which is launched from Earth, to the moon? If current propulsion systems are able to do so, how do I continue the research in this topic ...
reason1337's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
739 views

Rocket to launch 8 cubesat to LEO at an equidistant distance

I am working on a project, which consists of the launch of 8 cubesat 1U to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and I started working on the launch part, the idea of ​​the project is to be as cheap as possible, the ...
Valentino Zaffrani's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
243 views

How will NASA's software for autonomous navigation in cis-lunar space be tested; what information is processed, what outputs evaluated?

note: it's been a year and a half and Capstone is scheduled to be launched soon, so perhaps there is more information available now? NASA news item NASA Funds CubeSat Pathfinder Mission to Unique ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
676 views

Have there been any square 4U (2x2) cubesats?

How much did each MarCO 6U cubesat weigh? suggests that the density of a MarCO 6U cubesat might be as low as 0.75 g/cm^3 whereas I think they are usually about twice that. That led me to speculate ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
213 views

Will the Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft's solar panels be articulated during each orbit?

The NYTimes article Review: ‘Bill Nye: Science Guy,’ a Portrait of a Fighter for Facts includes a link to the film's trailer on YouTube and a photo of Bill Nye with a model of a 3U cubesat attached to ...
uhoh's user avatar
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22 votes
3 answers
1k views

Has any CubeSat flown with an active propulsion system?

CubeSats are small, but so are some propulsion systems (cold gas thrusters, for instance, really aren't too complex and can be low volume/mass). Has any CubeSat actually flown with its own propulsion ...
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12 votes
2 answers
9k views

Temperature of a satellite orbiting in low Earth orbit

I am working on a project for science fair that involves a deployable component that will not be heated on a CubeSat. I am trying to find data for the skin temperature of a satellite (or the ISS) over ...
Matthew's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
416 views

What is "OBJECT BS"?

I checked 2018-099 in Celestrak's satcat again for the question Where can I find the TLE of ExseedSat 1, India's first ever private LEO satellite? and noticed that ...
uhoh's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
292 views

Advantages/disadvantages of wood for surface of cubesat?

Generally aluminum and kapton are the exterior surfaces of a cubesat. A Finnish/ESA cubesat, the WISA/Woodsat was launched that has plywood panels. It has protection against offgassing and very low ...
300D7309EF17's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
581 views

What is the largest proper cubesat?

The sizes of Cubesats are measured in "U" units of volume. Each U is nominally a cube of something like 10 to 12 cm on a side, depending on the specific deploying mechanism it's approved for....
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
276 views

Why put SunRISE in the graveyard? Why will it "fly slightly above geosynchronous orbit"?

The blots.nasa.gov article NASA’s SunRISE Mission Studying Solar Particle Storms Moves Toward Launch says that the upcoming SunRISE mission — short for the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment — ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
294 views

help understanding this complicated structure that will deploy HySIS

This ISRO page for the HysYS spacecraft says: HysIS, the primary satellite of PSLV-C43 mission, weighing about 380 kg, is an earth observation satellite configured around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 (...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
358 views

Are 1U cubesats sufficiently detectable to get at least minimally usefully predictive public TLEs, updated regularly?

Satellite radar cross-sections is a complex function of satellite structure, design, materials, instantaneous attitude, (radar) frequency, polarization, and if has moving parts, configuration, just to ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
309 views

Why put both Orbex and Rocket Labs on adjacent launch pads in Scotland?

update 2: BBC's May 11, 2022 Scottish spaceport's prototype rocket unveiled update 1: There's some recent and potentially helpful information in NASA Spaceflight September 4, 2019 UK Spaceport at ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
231 views

Would a small electron microscope in a cubesat work well in space at 400 km?

There is now an electron microscope in space! Suppose that once I win a lottery I can build a small, modest SEM column and put it in a 6U cubesat that opens one side to allow the electron optics to ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
181 views

Attitude of the upcoming "Orbital Reflector"; will it result in good visibility?

There's a new (passive solar) orbital reflector, called the Orbital Reflector. While Mayak (Маяк) was a crowdfunded project at Moscow State Mechanical Engineering University and the Humanity Star ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
211 views

Are there any modern cubesats or smallsats that have relied only on magnetotorquers for attitude control?

This comment got me thinking... Question: Are there any modern cubesats or smallsats that have relied only on magnetotorquers for attitude control, sans reaction wheels or thrusters? Ideally an ...
uhoh's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Have there ever been cubesats in GEO?

This answer to the question How often do reaction wheels require desaturation, normally? says: One practical example I know of is for a 6U in GEO that is always sun pointed, there's a thruster ...
uhoh's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are cubesats deployed with fully discharged batteries? Even those on Sherpa?

I'm pretty sure that at least some large satellites are deployed with their batteries charged so that they can initialize themselves, get their own attitude and position, and possibly establish some ...
uhoh's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
3k views

Successful Linux-based Cubesat missions?

Has anyone had any experience with successful Linux-based flight computer on Cubesat missions? What Linux hardware was used and what problems did you encounter? I am contracted to write flight/ground ...
Clark Dailey's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could a cubesat propel itself to Mars?

I wrote the answer below to the question Could a cubesat be propelled to the moon? before realizing that it said Moon and I'd written it for Mars, so I've cloned that question and moved the answer ...
uhoh's user avatar
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9 votes
0 answers
269 views

Has there ever been a deliberate "Find A Satellite" challenge? Actually, could there be?

Companies often offer rewards for finding security issues in their products or their own IT systems, and hackathons have a long history. I'm just wondering if there has ever been a deliberate ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
311 views

How well could the tether tension method of attitude control actually ultimately work for a cubesat system?

The phys.org new item Image: Small satellite deployed from the Space Station shows the cubesat craft Space Tethered Autonomous Robotic Satellite (STARS-C) being deployed from the ISS. A satellite ...
uhoh's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
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Do deployments of multiple cubesats generally obey proposed guidelines such as 20 seconds or more between deployments at 5 m/s or faster?

This answer to What can be done in future mass-cubesat deploys to make them “less irksome” to orbital space debris experts? links to Space Traffic Safety: A New Self-Governance Approach for the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
414 views

Why would the future Nanoracks airlock be built so that it must be removed from the ISS to deploy cubesats?

I am sure there are a number of safety and engineering considerations, as well as future integration and flexibility to consider, but I can't think of any so far. When I think of an airlock, I think ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
2k views

CubeSat Orbit Determination

I'm thinking about the feasibility of making a CubeSat to test the EM drive thruster. Assuming the microwave electronics and resonant cavity could be scaled down to CubeSat size (5 watts, let's say), ...
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5 votes
2 answers
549 views

Have any satellites had lights visible from Earth besides FITSat-1?

Clearly not a duplicate! of Why does the International Space Station have a downward facing light? This answer to How does the Starlink satellite shine? begins with Starlink (and other satellites) ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
742 views

Raspberry Pis in Space?

I'm aware of the Astro Pi (1, 2, 3, 4) on board the ISS, but have there been any other instances of the RPi in space (Astro or not), for example in cubesats or other spacecraft which contain a ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
299 views

There are only a few suppliers of optical terminals: what is the reason?

I am conducting research into optical free space communication and small/nano satellites in LEO. I have found only a few companies which supply lasercom (laser communication) terminals (transmitter/...
Anna Koroleva's user avatar