Category Archives: Space Systems

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Aug.2.2020

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** The annual Smallsat Conference hosted at Utah State University is on line this year due to the Covid-19 virus situation. Registration is free. Though the event is nominally August 1-6, there are dozens of videos of workshop and technical session presentations already on line.

Dr. Pat Patterson of Utah State University talked about the Conference for 2020 on The Space Show on July 21, 2020 :

** Villanova University has a new student  CubeSat Club. The group is starting out by running a locally developed CubeSat simulator, receiving signals from CubeSats in orbit, designing a test project for a high-altitude balloon flight, and more.

The club’s long-term goal involves a bigger leap: to design, build and launch an actual CubeSat—a 10-by-10-by-10-centimeter, lightweight nanosatellite that can be launched from a rocket, or put into orbit by astronauts on the ISS. But with design, equipment, programming, testing, and launch, CubeSat development can take several years and cost up to $100,000.

For now, club members are taking smaller steps towards their ultimate mission as they gain hands-on experience with satellite technology through a CubeSat simulator developed by faculty adviser Alan Johnston, PhD, associate teaching professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The low-cost simulator functions like a real CubeSat, with working solar panels and the capability to send telemetry to an antenna, making it an ideal learning tool.

Monitoring its Lindenblad antenna will keep Villanova’s CubeSat Club busy. First, they will design a payload to be launched into the stratosphere via a high-altitude balloon. If all goes well, the balloon’s telemetry will be detectable from the roof of Tolentine as it sails above Villanova. Also on tap is working with a project called AmbaSat-1: to program, launch and track a credit card-sized “sprite” satellite into low earth orbit.

The CubeSat simulator involves both software and a hardware CubeSat bench emulator. Here is a description of the simulator: A Year with the AMSAT CubeSat Simulator: 12 Months in the Classroom and Lab – A. Johnston, P. Kilroy (pdf). More information on CubeSat Simulator Project Page.

CubeSat model simulators.

** Student CubeSat project at the MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute. There are several CubeSat project videos available online. Here is a brief overview of the project that involved designing an system for imaging and tracking ocean plastic debris:

And here is an overview of the design that the students developed:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects:

ANS-208 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Partners with UMaine’s WiSe-Net Lab to Develop Maine’s First Small Satellite
  • AMSAT-UK Announces OSCAR Satellite QSO Party
  • JARL Announces FO-29 Operation Schedule for August
  • Christopher Brault, KD8YVJ, Named 2020 Newsline Young Ham of the Year
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Upcoming ARISS Contacts
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-215 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

  • ISS MAI-75 SSTV Activity Planned For Aug 4-5
  • AMSAT Awards Update
  • How Many Satellite Awards Have Been Issued?
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for August 2020
  • First Demonstration Of Orbit Control On A 1U CubeSat
  • Burns Fisher, WB1JF, Featured Speaker at AMSAT SA Symposium
  • NASA to Provide Coverage of Astronauts’ Return from ISS on SpaceX
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Cubesat MissionsMakua Lani Christian Academy – Designing a CubeSat for a particular mission goal.

** PLIX CubeSats Online: Week 2 Wrap-up Stream

Welcome to Week 2 of PLIX CubeSats Online! 🛰️ For the second session, we’ll be covering the Satellite Testing & Payload Integration workshop, which covers both satellite testing strategies and the incorporation of a data-collecting tool. Read more about the CubeSats activity on our PLIX Activity Repository: http://bit.ly/PLIX-CubeSats

=== Amazon Ad ===

Introduction to CubeSat Technology and Subsystem:
Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – July.31.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Expedition 63 Demo 2 In flight Crew News Conference – July 31, 2020 – NASA Johnson

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken of NASA discussed the progress of their mission and preparations for the homecoming of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft during a crew news conference from orbit July 31. Hurley and Behnken are scheduled to return to Earth Aug. 2 aboard the Crew Dragon vehicle to wrap up an historic nine-week mission which was the first crewed flight on a privately owned spacecraft, while Cassidy is in the midst of a six-and-a-half month mission on the orbital complex.

** Expedition 63 In flight with EAA Young Eagles NASA ARMD – July 14, 2020

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 63 Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken of NASA discussed life and work aboard the orbital laboratory July 14 as they answered pre-recorded questions from students involved with the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles program. The group is associated with NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. Hurley and Behnken launched May 30 on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to the station, inaugurating the era of commercial crew launch capability from U.S. soil on an American space vehicle. Hurley and Behnken plan to return to Earth in August on the Crew Dragon craft for the first parachute-assisted splashdown of U.S. astronauts since the Apollo-Soyuz mission 45 years ago.

** SpaceCast Weekly – July 31, 2020

SpaceCast Weekly is a NASA Television broadcast from the Johnson Space Center in Houston featuring stories about NASA’s work in human spaceflight, including the International Space Station and its crews and scientific research activities, and the development of Orion and the Space Launch System, the next generation American spacecraft being built to take humans farther into space than they’ve ever gone before.

=== Amazon Ads ===

Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station

LEGO Ideas International Space Station Building Kit,
Adult Set for Display,
Makes a Great Birthday Present
(864 Pieces)

 

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – July.24.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Fruit Punch and Foam: Managing Liquids in Space – NASA Johnson

When NASA astronaut Doug Hurley squeezed a bag of fruit punch aboard the International Space Station last month, he did not get a refreshing drink. Instead, the red fluid that emerged from his drink bag wound down a clear tube, and soaked into a block of white foam. While it might not look like much, this simple experiment is providing researchers with better information about managing liquids in microgravity. Learn more here: https://go.nasa.gov/32JQUPM Learn more about the research being conducted on station: https://www.nasa.gov/iss-science

** SpaceX Crew Dragon Flies Through Habitability Testing – NASA Johnson

It is a “demonstration” mission, so the crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon are demonstrating that the systems on this new commercial spaceship all work as designed while it’s docked to the International Space Station. Take a look inside while the Expedition 63 crew members verify that astronauts and cosmonauts can live, work, and sleep as planned when the vehicle is executing its mission in space. Additional footage from the Habitability tests on July 8, 2020

** Expedition 63 Inflight interview with Yahoo Finance KPRC TV – July 24, 2020

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and NASA Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken discussed life on the orbital outpost and preparations for a return to Earth for Hurley and Behnken on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft during a pair of in-flight interviews July 24 with Yahoo Finance News and KPRC-TV, Houston. Cassidy is in the midst of a six-hand-a-half month mission on the laboratory while Hurley and Behnken are in the final days of their mission following their launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket May 30 that restored a U.S. launch capability from U.S. soil. Hurley and Behnken are scheduled to return to Earth on the Crew Dragon vehicle Aug. 2 for the first splashdown of U.S. astronauts since the Apollo-Soyuz mission in July 1975.

** Expedition 63 Progress 76 Docking – NASA TV

An unpiloted Russian cargo ship blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan July 23 on a delivery mission to bring some three tons of food, fuel and hardware to the residents of the International Space Station. The ISS Progress 76 craft arrived at the complex less than four hours after launch, automatically docking to the Pirs Docking Compartment on the Russian segment of the station where it will spend a little more than three months.

=== Amazon Ads ===

Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station

LEGO Ideas International Space Station Building Kit,
Adult Set for Display,
Makes a Great Birthday Present
(864 Pieces)

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – July.23.2020

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** University Wurzburg UWE-4 CubeSat fires NanoFEEP electric thrusters to avoid a possible collision with a derelict Iridium satellite: Morpheus thruster propels single cubesat to lower orbit – SpaceNews

Germany’s University of Wurzburg Experimental-4 (UWE-4) cubesat avoided a potential collision in early July while lowering its altitude with Morpheus Space’s NanoFEEP electric propulsion system.

It was the first time a one-unit cubesat performed a collision-avoidance maneuver, Istvan Lorincz, Morpheus president and co-founder, told SpaceNews.

“UWE ‑ 4 with Thrusters, Neutralizer and a new kind of sun sensors on each panel.” Credits: Univ. of Wurzburg

The UWE-4 mission is intended as a technology demonstration. In addition to propulsion, it is testing a new sun sensor design. The CubeSat was launched as a secondary payload on a Soyuz rocket in December 2018.

See also Successful first demonstration of orbit control on a 1U CubeSat – Lehrstuhl für Informatik VII

The 1U CubeSat, developed and built at the Chair for Robotics and Telematics, is equipped with the electric propulsion system NanoFEEP which has been developed by TU Dresden. 

Several manoeuvres have been performed within 11 days between June 23rd – July 3rd 2020 such that the altitude of the CubeSat was reduced by more than 100 m, compared to an average of 21 m with natural decay. This marks the first time in CubeSat history that a 1U CubeSat changed its orbit using an on-board propulsion system. 

As chance would have it, the team of UWE-4 received a conjunction data message (CDM) in the morning of July 2nd 2020 from the United Air Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron. A conjunction of UWE-4 with a non-operational Iridium satellite (ID: 34147) in the morning of July 5th 2020 with a minimum range of about 800 m was a threat to the safety of UWE-4. An analysis has shown that the altitude of UWE-4 would already be below the Iridium satellite at the time of conjunction. Thus the on-going altitude lowering manoeuvre could only improve the situation and can be considered as a collision avoidance manoeuvre. No further CDMs have been issued regarding this possible conjunction. An analysis of the orbit of the two spacecraft after July 5th 2020 results in a closest approach of more than 6000 m.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects:

ANS-201 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin:

  • AMSAT Board of Directors Election Packages Mailed July 14
  • HO-107 is Back!
  • First Call for Papers – Virtual 2020 AMSAT Annual Meeting and Space Symposium
  • New D-STAR Reflector for AMSAT Use
  • SpaceX to Launch AMSAT-EA EASAT-2 and Hades Satellites
  • DARC Finds Unauthorized Transmissions in 144 MHz Satellite Band
  • 1240-1300 MHz Discussed at CEPT SE-40 Meeting
  • IARU Coordinates Two New Satellites
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-204 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin:

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** CubeSats Get Close: Proximity Operation with Interesting Implications –  The Aerospace Corporation

One of Aerospace’s CubeSats photographed its twin satellite from 22 meters away in a demonstration of the type of technology that could enable inspection and servicing missions. Read more: CubeSats Get Close: Proximity Operation with Interesting Implications | The Aerospace Corporation

** Florian Gautier – Landing CubeSats On Asteroids – Cold Star Project S02E50

University of Kansas Doctoral candidate (Physics and Astronomy) Florian Gautier is on the Cold Star Project to discuss several of the research projects he’s been involved in. With host Jason Kanigan, Florian describes his aerospace engineering and astrophysics education journey from Europe to North America and opportunities to work on:

– Student CubeSat project at ISAE-SUPAERO to develop 12U cubesats for missions like ATISE
– Land3U project, simulation of CubeSat landing on asteroids, sponsored by ESA Drop Your Thesis! 2018 programme (the drop tower used is fascinating)
– AGILE, development of a new compact particle detectors suitable to be flown on a CubeSat.

I also ask Florian, who has two Masters degrees (Astronautics & Space Engineering and Astrophysics, Space Science & Planetary Science), about his future goals and where he thinks space work will take him.

** The Space Show – Weds. July.23.2020 – Dr. Pat Patterson, long time chief of the annual SmallSat Conference held at Utah State, talked about this year’s event (Aug. 1-6, 2020), which is all virtual.

** Democratizing access to outer space with CubesatsAdeel Khan

** PLIX CubeSats Online: Week 1 Kick-off StreamPLIX CubeSats

Welcome to Week 1 of PLIX CubeSats Online! 🛰️ In this session, we’ll be covering the PLIX CubeSats activities, a series of creative learning workshops designed to support public library patrons in learning about outer space environments and how they can be characterized with small spacecrafts. Read more about the CubeSats activity on our PLIX Activity Repository: – PLIX CubeSats

** Generating Quantum Random Numbers On a CubeSat (SpooQy-1)

CQT Online Talks – Series: Conference presentations This talk was given at CLEO. Speaker: Ayesha Reezwana, Alexander Ling Group, CQT,

NUS Abstract: We demonstrate a quantum random number generator based on entangled photon-pair statistics on-board a CubeSat orbiting in Low Earth Orbit.

=== Amazon Ad ===

Introduction to CubeSat Technology and Subsystem:
Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – July.17.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Down to Earth – Reach for the Stars – NASA Johnson

In celebration of the upcoming #SpaceStation20th anniversary, Spaceflight Participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates, who recently flew in space with other International Astronauts, shares his thoughts on his journey to reach the stars and his perspective on the power of us all working together in space in this episode of Down to Earth – Reach for the Stars.

** Spacewalk Outside the International Space Station – NASA. Summary of the EVA on July 16th by NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken:  NASA Astronauts Conclude Today’s Spacewalk – Commercial Crew Program/NASA

The two NASA astronauts completed all the work to replace batteries that provide power for the International Space Station’s solar arrays on the starboard truss of the complex. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.

The spacewalkers removed six aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for the second of two power channels for the starboard 6 (S6) truss, installed three new lithium-ion batteries, and installed the three associated adapter plates that are used to complete the power circuit to the new batteries. Mission control reports that all three new batteries are working.

Behnken and Cassidy are scheduled to conduct one more spacewalk Tuesday, July 21, during which they will remove two lifting fixtures used for ground processing of the station’s solar arrays prior to their launch. They’ll also begin preparing the Tranquility module for the installation of a commercial airlock provided by NanoRacks and scheduled to arrive on a SpaceX cargo flight later this year. The airlock will be used to deploy commercial and government-sponsored experiments into space.

** Expedition 63 Inflight with US Ambassador to Russia on Apollo Soyuz 45th Anniversary – July 17, 2020 – NASA

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos marked the 45th anniversary of the historic docking of an Apollo command module and a Soyuz spacecraft during an in-flight conversation July 17 with the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John J. Sullivan and Vasily Boryak, the Deputy Director of the North American Division of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Apollo command module, with Tom Stafford, Vance Brand and Deke Slayton aboard and the Soyuz spacecraft with Alexey Leonov and Valery Kubasov, linked up on July 17, 1975, two days after their respective launches from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida and the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to mark the beginning of the international cooperation between the United States and Russia that has been recognized as the springboard for the development and assembly of the International Space Station.

=== Amazon Ad ===

Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station