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News Cubesats: Tiny Spacecraft, Huge Payoffs

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by GreatOldOne, 8 Sep 2004.

  1. GreatOldOne

    GreatOldOne Wannabe Martian

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    Rolling your own satellite, from off the shelf components and then lobbing it into space for less than $100,000? Sounds far fetched, but it isn't. Plenty of universities and other organisations around the world are doing just that, according to this Space.com article:

    LOGAN, UTAH -- Experts say the big news in spacecraft building involves ultra-small CubeSats.

    These petite but powerful satellites are spearheading a hands-on revolution around the world. And what fist-sized CubeSats bring to space could mimic innovations sparked by the personal computer here on Earth.

    To look at them, you don’t see much …and that’s a good thing. No massive, expensive spacecraft that has been years in the making and loaded to its sprawling solar panels with super-electronics and other posh payload parts.

    A standard CubeSat is a motherboard of invention: About a 4-inch (10-centimeter) block of equipment that tips the scale at roughly 2 pounds (1 kilogram). A handful are already in space and with other launches planned for later this year.

    Peep inside a CubeSat and you’ll spot off-the-shelf circuitry in the familiar form of microprocessors and modem ports, and other microchip devices typically used in cell phones, digital cameras and hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation units.

    CubeSats will make be easier and more cost effective to deploy into orbit.


    More here

    Sounds as if anyone with a bit of common sense and hands on computer building experience could put one of these together. Hmmmm....

    And now, live via bit-sat 1, it's the nightly news with GOO ;)
     
  2. Bogomip

    Bogomip ... Yo Momma

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    yeah, ig to on a course in Surrey which gives you access to a sattelite center (on campus at surrey) where you can watch/help build sattelites like this. They get sent up well cheap because they use old russian rockets. Loads of mini-satelites go into one and so its really cheap to send it into space!
     
  3. Ubermich

    Ubermich He did it!

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    But how do you get them onto their proper course if there are so many on one rocket?

    I love the quote though "But it's so cool, you've got to do it." RIGHT ON! :D
     
  4. Rooney

    Rooney New Member

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    Perhaps with a loand from a bank you could set up a reconossance/spy sattelite service. :rock:
     
  5. Xen0phobiak

    Xen0phobiak SMEGHEADS!

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    I think we'd need quite a few for world coverage ;)
     
  6. DeX

    DeX Mube Codder

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    Yeah, as well as the problem of depolying them without them all bumping into each other, what about their power source? It didn't mention in the article where they'd get power from. I would have thought that a 10cm{param} solar panel wouldn't even be enough to power a 1Ghz PIII. Also, what about orbit corrections? Isn't it true that all the objects orbiting us at the moment get constantly shuffled around because of the moon, the sun and other objects? Do they just forget about it if one of them starts tumbling towards earth?
     
  7. GreatOldOne

    GreatOldOne Wannabe Martian

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    I think the idea is that as they're so cheap, compared with other spacecraft, they're essentially disposable.

    As for deploying them from the booster, they seem to be held in some sort of canister - I assume that there'd be some sort of delay after each deployment, so that the sats don't bump into one another.
     
  8. dom_

    dom_ --->

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    yeah while i was doing aeronautical engineering at surrey uni, i went to the space centre their a few times :rock:

    im sure their is something on www.surrey.ac.uk from memory they have the most in orbit of any university
     
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