Small satellites popular!

The space is more than ever accessible to the private sector for several sectors of activities, including for the class of small satellites. These satellites of less than 500 kilograms (kg) conduct missions for the majority in low Earth orbit or Leo.
To promote the access, NASA offers a public partnership-private, Association which, in addition to the Help has explored the universe, allows you to boost the space technologies.

CfeSat – Cibola Flight Experiment Satellite. Credit:
For the private sector, this popularity comes from the fact that the costs of construction and operation of these satellites are relatively low. And also, because they can perform remote sensing in real time data. As these data are easily buyable on the Internet, this opens the way for the creation of new sectors of economic activity and Creatives on Earth.
This constant increase in the number of small satellites is concentrated mainly in the manufacture of cubesats of less than 5 kg.
This fact is confirmed since it is estimated to 290 their number ready to be sent into space, or who are in different phases of integration, and this, for 2015. In addition, it provides in powered Other 360 by 2019.
EEVblog #519 - Ardusat Arduino Based CubeSat Satellite

Jonathan Oxer from Freetronics talks about the Ardusat project and shows his Arduino based cluster board for running Arduino sketches in space at the Melbourne Connected Community Hackerspace.‎

Credit: EEVblog
Libelium Sensors Launch into Space in Ardusat - the First Open Source Satellite -

With the successful space launch of ArduSat aboard a H-IIB rocket, the first open satellite platform that allows private citizens to design and run their own applications in space is now in the International Space Station (ISS). Included in the standard payload of the two 10cm x 10cm orbiters launched are Radiation Sensor Boards designed by Libelium that will monitor radiation levels generated by space phenomena such as sun storms and background activity.

More info at:

Credit: Libelium

The private sector takes its place!

In addition to the commercial providers Skybox, imaging, Planet Labs and property of other, Orbcom operates at it only a constellation of 40 small satellites, the largest number held by a private entity. For the year 2014, it has launched 18 whose weight ranged in the vicinity of 142 kg.
Planetary Resources has launched a cubsat demonstrator in 2014 and provides for the sending of a small telescope in LEO for 2015. The telescope would be used to identify the asteroids that have a potential for mining exploitation.
Although the satellites in orbit geosynchronous, GEO, have of the masses greater than 500 kg, some operators, whose Satmex and Asia Broadcast Satellite, have recently signed an agreement with Boeing . They ask the company to reduce the weight of the satellites in orbit using an electrical propulsion and solar power rather than chemical, including with the propellant. This track would make it less expensive their launches because they would require smaller launchers.

A CubeSat of the University of Tokyo / XI-V Missions /

What is there is in these satellites?

The cubesats allow you to send images of the Earth from space, to measure the magnetic film Earth, detect the orientation satellite with sensors in distances or of accelerometers, relaying radio waves amateur, measure the orbital environment such as temperature, pressure, or again, the radiation, test of structural components and software as the microprocessors, trace terrestrial animals in migration, test methods of stabilization of satellites and to biological experiments.
The manufacturers of cubesats have the opportunity to add all types of electronic applications or software that they or they wish, as long as it satisfies the constraints of volumes and masses.
For example, at the base, the cubesat of InterOrbital systems includes notably a dipole antenna, a mini-computer Arduino 5 Mini, solar cells of 2.52 V 31 mA (60), a lithium ion battery of 3.6 Volts, a system of control of power, a switch of power, a transmitter-receiver (FCC or equivalent licensees), either a Radiometrix TR2m with a AFS amplifier2 of 500 megawatts and a map-printed circuit of type Gerber. As the total mass of the system is to 0.65 kg and that the weight of the finished product must have a maximum weight ranging from 1 to 1.33 kg, it remains 0.35 to 0.68 kg for a adding staff.

The material includes in a CubeSat from the University of Texas / Pico satellite launched by the Space Shuttle in 2009.

The CubeSats are available in 2U, 3U or 4U. The length, the volume and the mass of these small satellites are based on multiplying factors such as the cost. The content inside of the cube has a dimension of 4 inches (PO) x 3.8" x 4.5 inches. Once the cylinder is deployed, it will measure 6 inches x 5.90 inches.

NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer Program-1 releasing satellites from the ISS

Deployment of small satellites from the ISS and F-1 CubeSat mission version 2

Credit: FSpacelab
NASA EDGE and special guest host Tiffany Nail explore the latest developments in nanosat technology at the 10th Annual CubeSat Development Workshop. MagnetoStar-1, however, still won't fly.

The precursors?

The concept of the cubesat has been introduced on the market of satellites in 2003. At this time, we wanted to manufacture a platform at low cost for a university satellite dedicated to education. Gradually, this concept has become the standard for the majority of universities. Then, to the extent of their development, governmental agencies and private industry have shown more and more interest in the launch and operate.
In general, universities and research centers have a tendency to deploy satellites with masses below 10 kg, or even up to 1 kg, to make technological demonstrations or of education.And, who said small price, said small format. This is the reason for which these institutions Manufacture of Small cubsats a dimension of 10 centimeters (cm) x 10 cm x 10 cm, which is equivalent to a unit (U) for a weight of 1 kg. Part of a group of small satellites issut the class of the nanosats, if it has 2U, it is said that its size is 10 cm x 10 cm x 20 cm, or even 3U, 10 cm x 10 cm x 30 cm.

3U CubeSat. Credit:
Of course, by its magnitude, the cubesat cannot often perform only one function at a time. However, a constellation of cubesats can work in synchronization for a global offer of services, therefore, features. In addition, the principle of the Constellation ensures that, if ever one of them fact default, the objective of the service will not be critical phase.

Despite their small size, these cubesats offer the same functions that a satellite said normal, particularly for the deployment of solar panels or antennas.
On the top, a cubesat of 1U.

Who can initiate small satellites?

In the United States, the program Educationale lauch of nanosatellites (ElaNa) of NASA, encourages the construction of new structural concepts for space or models dedicated to science. To do this, it provides to universities and other organizations who develop small satellites, launches free of charge on board vessels which are already cédulés for large missions for the NASA or other government agencies.
These launches include those who are non-commercial, done by the Atlas rocket V, or commercial, up to those carried out by the rockets Falcon 9 or Antares for the International Space Station (ISS).

Although the microsats are widely used for commercial communications (ORBCOM and AprizeStar) and Remote Sensing (RapidEye), the nanosats are mainly used for technology demonstrations. As the technologies mature developed more and more, more than nanosats are built for the scientific objectives, communications and remote sensing.
At the top, the knuckle Antares Trade/Cygnus of Orbital Sciences Corporation, USA.

Always more launchers

The Lynx Mark III of XCOR Aerospace is planning to offer its launcher for microsatellites in 2015-16. To do this, it will use the top floors of a rocket to insert your satellite with a maximum weight of 15 kg.
SkyBox Imaging and GeoOptics have of gold-and-already signed contracts with Virgin Galactic for the launch of their satellites in 2016. The vehicle will be the LauncherOne, built by The Spaceship Company, dedicated for the low orbits. It will launch the satellites, either vertically with rockets in floors or, either horizontally with the aircraft carrier White Knigh Two. In both cases, the maximum load capacity era of 225 kg.
Even if there is property of other, note for the moment the GB launcher, Generation orbit and space propulsion group, who will conduct its launches in 2016. Based on the support of aircraft-carriers of high-performance, the GB Launcher may use a rocket Gb1 to floor for missions sub-orbital or a rocket to floor GB2 able to send loads of 20 to 30 kg in LEO.
The space opens because the advance of space technology is sufficiently mature to allow the launch of people and of goods quite easily. In addition to the technological barrier, the cost has always been a major obstacle to its outbreak. Now that there is no longer of major obstacles, what do you mean to submit your project and go forward in the space?

An overview of future launches

on average, in the past 5 years, there has been a total of 77 launches, including 21 commercial by year. It is estimated that, for the next 10 years, the demand for commercial launches in GEO will be relatively stable with 15 to 17 launches per year.
The NGSO launches will increase significantly as the major constellations will be replenished and that missions for replenishment of the ISS will become regular.
From 2013 to 2022, 337 loads are projected to be launch commercially, causing 130 launches. Of these launches, 127 will be with vehicles medium-heavy and 3 with small.
The Médium-Lourds vehicles are able to carry more than 2,269 kg at an altitude of 185 km with an inclination of 28.5 degrees. With regard to the small vehicles, they have a loading capacity of less than 2.268 kg or 5,000 books, up to an altitude of 185 km and an inclination of 28.5 degrees.

Where we launch small satellite?

The CubeSat will be launched from a launch site located on the ratings of the California or of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. Subsequently, the activities will be on the IOS Spaceport of Tonga located on the island of Eva in the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific.
The orbit chooses is polar and will be at an altitude of 310 km and its orbital time will vary from three weeks to two months, depending the solar temperature. At the end of this period, the CubeSat reentry in the atmosphere and burn, which eliminate the accumulation of orbital debris.

Usually, the Orbit chooses for the pico satellites is in LEO, between 150 and 600 kilometers. This region is the location of many scientific satellites and the International Space Station (ISS). Also, below and in the ionosphere, there is a fine atmospheric layer which is the place where there is the greatest strength of the terrestrial magnetism.
This magnetic field protects us from the intense activity of the sun. The high particle energy, the issuance of the rays and the ejections of mass of the solar corona are moved by the magnetic field before they reach the surface of the earth. The magnetic fields near the poles is the place where the energy is expressed by the aurora borealis.
Above the ionosphere, the environment can be hostile because of the solar activity. Below, the risks of the radiation are less risky. This is the reason why the ISS is placed in orbit in LEO and where the satellite Pico IRA.
Below we see the deployment of three nanosatellites launched by the robotic arm or Small Satellite Orbiting Deploy - SSOD, attached to the laboratory japannese Kibo of the ISS.
A typical orbit in LEO is of a duration of 90 minutes. This implies that the satellite will be a rotation around the Earth at each 90 minutes, thus making 15 orbits per day. This orbit can be positioned near the equator or circulate from the North Pole to the South Pole. Similarly, it may be circular or highly eccentric, approaching near the Earth once and then move away from very far.
When the end of the useful life occurs, either at the last moment of the orbit, it may take 3 to 6 weeks before your pico Satellite or Cubsat suffers from the hectic reentry into the atmosphere. Usually, once the satellite is in orbit, it does not return. Of course, by its disintegration in the atmosphere, it does not become a waste of space.
A launch of a typical CubeSat is estimated at some $40,000. Today, there are several commercial providers engaged in the construction of dedicated launchers for cubeSats. Also several projects of the NASA and the ISS accept proposals using the architecture of the CubeSat.
As well, the company Pumpkin Inc. offers a kit for the cubesat and sells $7 500, provided that you have your launch rocket? Do not worry, it can always be arranged. Indeed, some suppliers offer the launch with their kit!
It is the case of InterOrbital Systems, which offers a assembly on a platform at very low costs or on a structure more complete fully functional. The price of the cubesat includes a setting in low Earth orbit to achieve by a rocket interorbit IOS modular Neptune of three floors.

The Polytechnique of the University of State of California prepares for the integration of a CubeSat in a container PPOD, commonly called "Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer".

This launcher has been designed to place between 30 and 1000 kg load into low Earth orbit in the polar region. For the option of loading of 30 kg, it is possible to attach 24 TubeSats, or to do a combination of CubeSats and TubeSats. Obviously, each of the CubeSats or TubeSats are placed in their own orbits to each mission.
For the receipt to the ground, the owners of CubeSats can build their own facilities for/Uplink Downlink, use a receiving station portable or a fixed network located anywhere on the earth. Interorbital currently develops a system of web communication for the Community CubeSat.

What are the conditions in Leo?

The ionosphere is a very thin layer of plasma electrically charged atoms (ions) and electrons that create the ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun. This region, which constitutes the LEO or the low Earth orbit, begins to 150 km and is powered by the solar activity. The portion facing the solar-to more of ionization, so that it can bully fiercely its environment. This strong ionization may weaken the magnetic field, which increases the radiation at low altitudes.
As regards the temperature, you should be aware that a metal plate to Leo will face a cycle of -170°C to 123°C, depending on its exposure to the sun and the time that it happening there. An object in orbit passes approximately half of his time facing the sun and the other in the face of the earth. Reassured-you! As your satellite is very small, these exhibitions will fortunately be limited. By contrast, with an orbit of 90 minutes, the performance may be impaired. That is why it is recommended to add a heating device, if necessary, and a cooling system. On the land too.
For example, a sensor or thermal sensor as a microDig Hot Brand sensor, covers -40°C to 100°C will be able to make the case. But, if there is a temperature fault that fate of this framework, the electronic components of the satellite can have problems of operation. On the land too.

How long is the mission of a satellite? And, what it can do?

The life of a mission is short with less than 3 months, then it is necessary to anticipate on the damage accumulated in this environment not always easy. The mission designated for a Pico satellite or any other small satellite may have a link with the science, engineering or any other original concept. In addition, NASA encourages anyone who has an idea of the Submit. You will have five minutes to sell your project and they will listen to you seriously.
At the level of the science, the satellite can point as the fact a telescope, for an object of interest, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, the space or the earth. Note that, to observe the Earth, there must be a license… to ensure the preservation of privacy.
The score can be randomly, but this would not be very practical. You can schedule a backup mode, to give to the satellite a specific orientation to its orbit. Still, we can make a dynamic score for that it points to where it wants, as the font Google and property of others.
For the engineering, the Pico satellite can use its platform to test new concepts for structural space. For example, a new power supply system, a new positioning method, a new type of radio or relay in communications, new sensors or sensors and much more.
Further, the Pico satellites can be used to test the coordination of a constellation of satellites. As they are the Track the less expensive to access the space, they can also be an excellent basis for the testing of new prototypes of manufacture of satellites, and this, before investing millions of dollars in missions of more large-scale.


The commercial systems in NGSO use a variety of orbits. As well, in Leo, the altitude is 160 to 2,400 km (100 to 1,500 nautical miles), and the tilt varies from 0 degree for a coverage in Ecuador to 101 degrees for a total coverage. In MOE, which begins to 2,400 km or 1,500 miles in altitude, we have an inclination of 45 degrees, which allows, with powerful satellites, to have a comprehensive coverage. It should be noted that the MOE is a term often apply for all the orbits between the Leo and the GSO.
The elliptical orbit (ELI) or orbit highly elliptical (HEO) has its apogee between 7,600 km (4.725 miles) and 35,497 km (22,000 miles) in altitude and a superior inclination to 116.5 degrees. This allows the satellites to cover certain regions of the Earth, such as the North America.
For the orbit non-geocentric or External (EXT), the satellite is concentrated on a celestial object other than the Earth, as the Moon. Unlike the orbit Eli, including satellite flows near or around the Earth, the one in EXT will not return in Earth orbit.