With the recent technological advances, most companies employ the latest tech solutions to ease their operations. One of the recent additions in the space world is CubeSats, and they are favorite among most companies due to their many benefits. These satellites are cubical and are very tiny. Are you seeking to adopt satellite technology for your business? There are various things to know about CubeSats.
What are CubeSats?
CubeSats are small satellites usually used for space research and academic purposes. They feature multiple cubic modules measuring 10 by 10 by 10 cm in size. What’s more, they consist of commercial off-shelf components and are commonly used for low earth orbit. The major applications of CubeSat satellites include remote sensing and communication.
What’s the structure & components of a CubeSat?
CubeSats come in varying sizes between 1U to 3U. The allowable materials for the CubeSat structure are aluminum alloys and should be anodized to prevent cold welding. There are different Cubesat components; these include;
- Attitude determination
- Data handling
A CubeSats communication system is normally limited by the power available, which is approximately 2W. Compared to other low-mid power range satellites, this is relatively low. CubeSats use an antenna deployed once in orbit to aid in communication. The antennas may be inflatable dishes or commercial measuring tapes. Moreover, these satellites use radio communication systems in UHF, VHF, S-, C- and X- bands.
The electrical power system of a CubeSat features solar panels and batteries. The panels accommodate the solar cells and convert solar energy into electricity. The batteries take up a significant mass and volume on the tightly compressed CubeSat. However, the challenge lies in placing the solar panels on the sides or having deployable solar panels.
The orientation of the CubeSat is controlled by the attitude determination and the control system. This is with regard to the inertial frame of reference, which includes reaction wheels, thrusters, sensors, and star stickers.
CubeSats feature a command and data handling system with its own computer that performs multiple tasks. These are; image processing, data analysis, and data compression.
- 5. Payload
The payload is the purpose of the CubeSat and varies depending on the required mission. These range from cameras, videos, space qualification of some electronic components, or testing of flight control systems.
What are the benefits of CubeSats?
CubeSats are a form of small satellites and take a shorter period to manufacture. Unlike bigger satellites, you can use them in different company sizes and for a lower price. Their small and lightweight design translates to a lesser cost than their conventional counterparts.
Moreover, CubeSats are less complex and easier to launch into space and incorporate the latest technology, allowing room for customization and improvement. They feature commercial components which can survive space radiation during short missions.
A quick wrap up
CubeSats are fast taking control of the space industry and are no longer limited to academic projects. Nowadays, most companies invest in this satellite technology, thanks to the associated benefits. Besides, most corporations are shifting from conventional satellites to smaller versions like CubeSats and microsatellites.