Length: 2 Days
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Introductions to CubeSat

A CubeSat is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that is made up of multiples of 10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm cubic units.

The first CubeSats were launched in June 2003 on a Rockot launch vehicle. Now more than a 1,000 are actively in orbit.

A CubeSat is considered a nanosatellite. They have been used exclusively in low Earth orbit for 15 years, and are now being used for interplanetary missions as well.

Having initially been developed as educational tools, CubeSats are increasingly being put to active use in orbit for technology demonstration, scientific studies and even commercial purposes. And just like typical satellites, they are custom built to fulfil the specific requirements of their mission.

CubeSats were made possible by the ongoing miniaturization of electronics, which allows instruments such as cameras to ride into orbit at a fraction of the size of what was required at the beginning of the Space Age in the 1960s.

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.

There are considerable advantages of modern CubeSats over conventional satellites – especially considering a large number of services can now be provided from space. Besides being more affordable and having shorter development times, CubeSats provide more up-to-date technology and provide greater data security.

Despite their diminutive size, CubeSats carry a payload in order to accomplish their mission. Of course one of the first questions asked by those just learning about CubeSats: How much payload can a tiny satellite like a CubeSat actually carry?

You would be surprised.

The answer to the CubeSat payload question depends on the type of mission deployed. One of the most common uses for CubeSats is in the area of Earth observation. Payloads can be optical, hyperspectral, multispectral, panchromatic cameras, etc. The difference between them is the type of observation that is made and the wavelength bands of the light you want to capture.

In a communication mission, the payload is determined by the type of CubeSat used: unidirectional or two-way.

In scientific or technological missions, CubeSats make it possible to carry out tests in authentic conditions in order to verify how specific types of devices or products in the development phase function in orbit. For example, in the field of scientific research, research groups may want to carry out a biological experiment to verify how a specific type of bacteria reproduces in space.

Introductions to CubeSat Course by Tonex

Introductions to CubeSat is a 2-day covering the basic concepts and processes for
CubeSat analysis, design and developments. Participants will learn about the CubeSats or miniature satellites that have been used exclusively in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and can be used for exploring and interplanetary missions. In the beginning,    however, they were commonly used in low Earth orbit for applications such as remote sensing or communications.

Nanosatellites are loosely defined as any satellite weighing less than 10 kilograms. The basic design of a CubeSat is a 10-centimeter (4-inch) cube with a mass of less than 1.33 kilograms (2.93 lbs.). CubeSats can also be designed to encompass two, three or six 10-centimeter units for more complicated missions. CubeSats shall also comply with a series of specific criteria that control factors such as their shape, size and weight.

Two of the 28 Dove cubesats that make up Planet Lab's "Flock 1" constellation are seen deploying into orbit from the International Space Station on Feb. 11, 2014.

28 Dove CubeSats part of Planet Lab’s “Flock 1” constellation deployed into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) on Feb. 11, 2014.
(Image: © NASA)
What is a Nanosatellite?

The standard CubeSat unit, a cube-shaped structure measuring 10x10x10 centimetres, has with a mass of somewhere between 1 and 1.33 kg (AKA as 1U). This modular unit is now multiplied and larger nanosatellites such (1.5U, 2U, 3U or 6U).

Course Topics

Fundamentals of CubeSats

  • CubeSats Use Cases
  • Satellite Types
  • Satellite Types and the Mass
  • Large satellites: More than 1,000 kg
  • Medium-sized satellites: 500-1,000 kg
  • Small satellites
  • Minisatellite: 100-500 kg
  • Microsatellite: 10-100 kg
  • Nanosatellite: 1-10 kg
  • Picosatellite: Less than 1 kg
  • CubeSat Launch Initiatives
  • CubeSats System Survey
  • Mission Models
  • Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Rideshare
  • National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Rideshare
  • International Space Station (ISS) Deployment Mission Model
  • Commercial Launch Services
  • Structure
  • Computing
  • Attitude control
  • Propulsion
  • Power
  • Telecommunications
  • RF
  • Antennas
  • Antennas
  • Thermal management

CubeSat Architecture and Design

  • CubeSat Reference Architecture CubeSats Systems Engineering Design Process
  • Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) applied to CubeSats
  • System Inputs
  • Desired System Outputs
  • System Level Architecture
  • CubeSat RF Engineering
  • Antennas
  • Communication Protocols
  • Launch Vehicles
  • CubeSat Dispenser Systems
  • 3U Dispensers
  • 6U Dispensers
  • Launch Vehicles Rockets
  • Development Process Overview
  • Ground Station Design, Development, and Testing
  • CubeSat Software Design and Implementation
  • CubeSat Testing
  • CubeSat Hardware Fabrication and Testing
  • CubeSat Software Testing
  • Mission Readiness Reviews
  • CubeSat-to-Dispenser Integration and Testing
  • Mission Operations

CubeSat Design Specifications (CDS)        

  • Range Safety Requirements
  • Licensing Procedures
  • Radio Frequency (RF) Licensing
  • Remote Sensing
  • Flight Certification
  • Orbital Debris Mitigation Compliance
  • Transmitter Surveys
  • CubeSat Components
  • Materials List
  • Environment Testing (Vibration/Shock)
  • 693 Thermal Vacuum Bakeout Testing
  • Compliance
  • Safety and Reliability
  • CubeSat Verification and Validation (V&V)
  • Acceptance Checklists
  • Technical Reference Documents for CubeSat
  • Requirements Verification
  • CubeSat Cybersecurity Attacks and Mitigation

CubeSat Cybersecurity

  • Space Cybersecurity
  • CubeSat Networking, Systems, Technologies, Databases
  • CubeSat Defensive and Offensive Cybersecurity
  • CubeSats Vulnerabilities and Hackers
  • Securing Satellites and CubeSats
  • CubeSat Threat Models and Mitigation

CubeSat Case Study

  • Business Case for a CubeSat-based Earth Imaging Constellation
  • Tools to to Build a CubeSat
  • CubeSat cost and Components


Introductions to CubeSat

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