Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – April.21.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs:

** 60 ThinSats built by middle and high school students reached space aboard Northrop-Grumman Cygnus cargo vessel launch on Antares rocket to the ISS: 60 ThinSat Constellation focused on STEM, Launched successfully April 17th

Mission Success yesterday for Indiana’s NearSpace Launch Inc. (NSL) ThinSat constellations launched off the Antares NG-11 on route to International Space Station. The 60 ThinSat were developed for Virginia Space as a STEM program for middle and high schools. Over 400 students participated in the testing and delivering of experiments in orbit today. The school teams were overseen by Twiggs Space Labs.

Co-founder of Twiggs Space Labs and Co-Inventor of the CubeSat, Bob Twiggs, states, “Our goal is to inspire future generations of engineers and scientists through innovation in the field of space.” Twiggs goes further to say, “To me, this (ThinSat launch) is the most exciting day of my career.” 

ThinSat is a new pioneering model for satellites that are scalable, simpler, and more affordable. Their focus is to broaden access to space for educational and space research participants.

The ThinSat comes in an array of sizes that comply with the CubeSat launcher. The 11.2 cm by 11.7 cm by 2 cm ThinSat version was the first model to launch this week. The ThinSat team choose to use EyeStar radios and Alta Devices solar technology. The NSL’s EyeStar radios allow for 24/7 connectivity via Globalstar’s constellation. Alta Devices solar cells provide a unique modular, lightweight, flexible form factor with high efficiency characteristics.

The ThinSat inventor and co-founder of NSL, Hank Voss states, “ThinSats will travel in a region of the atmosphere that is important to climate and space weather forecasts, but rarely studied because atmospheric drag makes it hard to keep satellites there,” Voss also expressed, as an emeritus professor, he is “thankful to Virginia Space and Twiggs Space Labsfor investing into the project that has a such strong STEM and research outreach.”

The ThinSat components were developed by NearSpace Launch Inc. (NSL) of Upland, IN.

Scalable models of ThinSats from 3U to 27U in size.

See also:

** 3 CubeSats of BIRDS-3 program reach ISS after launch on Northrop-Grumman Cygnus cargo vehicle. BIRDS-3 is

led by Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan and involves students from Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Japan.

The goal is for the participating countries to create indigenous space programs “by designing, building, testing, launching and operating, [their] first satellite(s)”.

The 3 satellites – Uguisu, NepaliSat-1, and Raavana-1 (Sri Lanka) – are expected to be deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) “Kibo” in May or June.

** Other student CubeSats launched to the ISS aboard the Cygnus included the three Virginia university projects described here in previous roundups plus several other college spacecraft:

More about BIRDS-3:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-111 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Reminder: May 14 Deadline to Order Tickets for TAPR/AMSAT Banquet
  • First Ham in Space, AMSAT Life Member, Owen Garriott, W5LFL, SK
  • AMSAT VP for Human Spaceflight Programs Explains Operations Onboard the ISS
  • Seats Still Available for AMSAT Academy
  • Amateur Radio Cubesats Aboard Cygnus Launch: BIRDS-3, Swiatowid, KrakSat, EntrySat
  • Australian CubeSat to use 76 GHz
  • 2M0SQL Releases Pass Recorder Version 1.5
  • FUNcube Data Warehouse URL Change
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • AMSAT-India’s ISS Demonstration and Outreach Success
  • NASA Hosts University Students to Discuss Future of Space Exploration
  • Reports Virgin Orbital Adds Guam to Launch Sites
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


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