Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – July.8.2020

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

** Generation and detection of quantum entanglement in a CubeSat in orbit successfully demonstrated in a project led by National University of Singapore. The SpooQy Lab in Singapore built the SpooQy-1 CubeSat, which was deployed into orbit from the ISS on June 17, 2019.

The Optical Society article says, that the

… quantum mechanical phenomenon known as entanglement is essential to many quantum communications applications. However, creating a global network for entanglement distribution isn’t possible with optical fibers because of the optical losses that occur over long distances. Equipping small, standardized satellites in space with quantum instrumentation is one way to tackle this challenge in a cost-effective manner.

As a first step, the researchers needed to demonstrate that a miniaturized photon source for quantum entanglement could stay intact through the stresses of launch and operate successfully in the harsh environment of space within a satellite that can provide minimal energy. To accomplish this, they exhaustively examined every component of the photon-pair source used to generate quantum entanglement to see if it could be made smaller or more rugged.

SpooQy-1 cut-away model shows the avionics and location of the  SPEQS-2 polarization-entangled photon-pair experiment. Credits: SpooQy Lab

“At each stage of development, we were actively conscious of the budgets for mass, size and power,” said [lead author Aitor] Villar [of Univ. of Singapore]. “By iterating the design through rapid prototyping and testing, we arrived at a robust, small-form factor package for all the off-shelf components needed for an entangled photon-pair source.”

The new miniaturized photon-pair source consists of a blue laser diode that shines on nonlinear crystals to create pairs of photons. Achieving high-quality entanglement required a complete redesign of the mounts that align the nonlinear crystals with high precision and stability.

** BHUTAN-1 university CubeSat completes second year of operation : BHUTAN-1 orbiting the Earth for two years – KuenselOnline

BHUTAN-1 has been developed by Bhutanese engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology as part of their Master’s Degree under the BIRDS-2 Project.

BHUTAN-1 is capable of transmitting two types of data- mission data and housekeeping data. The data is received at the ground station located at the Ministry of Information and Communication compound, Thimphu.

Mission data are camera images captured from space.  Cheki Dorji, engineer with the Division of Telecom and Space (DTS) said that downloading images from the satellite was not feasible since Bhutan-1 satellite could not uplink the data from ground station to space to harness the image. It was the limitation of CubeSat built under the BIRDS-2 project, he said.

However, housekeeping data is transmitted from the satellite every day and studied. The status of the satellite such as its battery, temperature and its parts are known as housekeeping data.

The Deputy Executive Engineer with DTS, Kiran Kumar Pradhan said that although the capability of the satellite was limited, the function of small CubeSat was similar to a bigger satellite which gave them insight on how a bigger satellite works.

An article from when the Cubesat was launched in 2018: BHUTAN-1, Bhutan’s first space borne satellite deployed from ISS on 10 August – The Bhutanese

BHUTAN-1 CubeSat. Credits: BIRDS-2 project at Wikipedia.

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

ANS-180 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Symposium Proceedings Now Available to AMSAT Members
  • Ham Talk Live Episode on Satellite Etiquette
  • ASEE Presentation on CubeSatSim
  • CAS-6 Becomes TO-108, Added to AMSAT TLE Distribution
  • AMSAT Announces Candidates for 2020 Board of Directors Election
  • ARISS Volunteer VK5ZAI Named Member of the Order of Australia
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

ANS-187 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin

  • Successful Launch of BY70-2 With FM-to-Codec2 Transponder
  • AMSAT Responds to Allegations of Unauthorized Legal Expenses
  • New Satellite Distance Records Set
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for July 2020
  • Virginia Air and Space Center Discontinues KE4ZXW Demo Station
  • AMSAT 2020 Board of Directors Election Upcoming
  • CAS-6 Becomes TO-108, Added to AMSAT TLE Distribution
  • San Diego Microwave Group Discusses ARISS Possibilities
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


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