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Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx
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Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms
for emerging and developing nations
Kirk Woellert a,⇑, Pascale Ehrenfreund a, Antonio J. Ricco b, Henry Hertzfeld a
a
Space Policy Institute, The George Washington University, 1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052, USA
b
NASA Ames Research Center, Small Spacecraft Division, MS 239-24, P.O. Box 1, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA

Received 24 June 2010; received in revised form 4 September 2010; accepted 9 October 2010

Abstract

The development, operation, and analysis of data from cubesats can promote science education and spur technology utilization in
emerging and developing nations. This platform offers uniquely low construction and launch costs together with a comparative ubiquity
of launch providers; factors that have led more than 80 universities and several emerging nations to develop programs in this field. Their
small size and weight enables cubesats to “piggyback” on rocket launches and accompany orbiters travelling to Moon and Mars. It is
envisaged that constellations of cubesats will be used for larger science missions. We present a brief history, technology overview, and
summary of applications in science and industry for these small satellites. Cubesat technical success stories are offered along with a sum-
mary of pitfalls and challenges encountered in both developed and emerging nations. A discussion of economic and public policy issues
aims to facilitate the decision-making process for those considering utilization of this unique technology.
Ó 2010 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Cubesat; Developing countries; Innovation; Capacity building; Space technology; Nanosatellite

1. Introduction uniquely inexpensive pathway to the study of scientific phe-
nomena and the advancement of novel engineering con-
People from developing and emerging nations often cepts in the unique environment of outer space.
struggle to obtain clean water, sufficient nutrition, ade- Primarily for economic reasons, satellite development
quate healthcare, effective education, economic stability, has been dominated heretofore by the United States, Rus-
and basic security. Expenditures on space science and satel- sia, members of the European Union, Japan, Canada,
lite technology in such countries may, therefore seem inap- China and India. Satellites in general, and the smallest of
propriate because of the need for diverting resources from them in particular, are less expensive to develop and build
near-term social programs. Nevertheless, long-term eco- than full-size spacecraft. A growing number of private
nomic prosperity depends in part on intellectual capital, commercial and public (both military and civilian) space
the advancement of which requires scientific training as launches carry ever more small “secondary” payloads into
well as the use, and eventually the development, of new orbit at far lower cost than the dedicated missions required
technology. We posit that a recent technological advance, by conventional satellites.
the cubesat, can contribute on a politically attractive and Smallsats including cubesats have spawned significant
economically viable basis to the expansion of an emerging commercial activity, including providers of complete satel-
nation’s intellectual capital. Cubesat technology offers a lites, components, and launch services, many of them start-
ing as academic spin-offs (Table 1). An early success story
is the collaboration between Pumpkin, Inc., and Stanford
⇑ Corresponding author. University leading to the development of the Cubesat
E-mail address: kdwoell@comcast.net (K. Woellert). Kit. Commercial success has undoubtedly been furthered

0273-1177/$36.00 Ó 2010 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.asr.2010.10.009

Please cite this article in press as: Woellert, K., et al. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na-
tions. J. Adv. Space Res. (2010), doi:10.1016/j.asr.2010.10.009

2 K. Woellert et al. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx

Table 1
Selected small and startup cubesat, component, and service providers.
Company Products and/or services Date founded, location
Surrey Space, Ltd. Small satellites 1985, UK
Tethers Unlimited Tether technologies for orbital formation flying 1994, US
SpaceQuest, Inc. Cubesat components 1994, US
Pumpkin, Inc. Cubesat kits and integration services 1995, US
Sinclair Interplanetary Attitude determination & control for smallsats 2001, Canada
MicroSpace MEMS microthrusters 2002, Italy
Dobson Space Telescope GbR Telescopes and imagers for small satellites 2002, Germany
Clyde Space Cubesat Kit components and design services 2005, UK
TriSept Corp. Small satellite launch integration services 2006, US
ISIS Small satellites and launch integration services 2006, The Netherlands
GOMSpace Small satellites 2007, Denmark
Selected Small and Startup Cubesat, Component, and Service Providers.
Surrey Satellite Technology LTD., http://www.sstl.co.uk/About_SSTL/Our_Story.
Tethers Unlimited, http://www.tethers.com/index.html.
SpaceQuest communications components, http://www.spacequest.com/products/CCS-100.pdf.
Pumpkin Inc., http://www.cubesatkit.com/content/pumpkin/about_pumpkin_inc.html.
Sinclair Planetary, http://www.sinclairinterplanetary.com/.
Micro-Space, http://www.micro-space.org/company.html.
Dobson Space Telescope, http://www.dobson-space-telescope.com/2-0-about.html.
Clyde Space, http://www.clyde-space.com/about_us/staff/craig.
Space Access Technologies, http://www.access2space.com/.
ISIS, http://www.isispace.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=32.
GOMSpace, http://www.gomspace.com/index.php?p=profile.

by public-domain access to the cubesat standard, along including those that exceed 1 kg per cube as well as two-
with the availability of graduates with education and expe- and three-cube spacecraft.
rience on this platform. Since the cubesat’s introduction, the comparatively low
Reduced costs to participate in space activities have cost of space research projects and engineering development
spurred small satellite development programs throughout activities that fit within the size, mass, and power con-
the world by the governments, industry, and particularly straints of satellites less than 10 kg has attracted some 80
the academic institutions of a growing number of nations educational institutions around the world to this field.
with both advanced and emerging technological capabili- Cubesat technology development has been significantly
ties, including Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, accelerated in recent years, in universities as well as govern-
Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, ment and industry, by rapid advances in nano-, micro-, and
South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, and Venezuela; some miniature technologies in fields including telecommunica-
of their achievements were recently discussed (Wood and tions, (opto)electronics, materials, sensors, fluidics, and
Weigel, 2009). instrumentation. These advances have helped enable many
Universities pioneered the development of the smallest small but remarkably capable autonomous instruments and
of the small satellites—the “nano” and “pico” categories systems to accomplish a variety of remote measurements
to which cubesats belong.1 Conventional satellite develop- and experiments in cubesats (Kramer and Cracknell,
ment is capital and expertise intensive, requiring multi-year 2008) (see Section 3).
development and large professional teams, thus severely
limiting participation by science and engineering students.
Recognizing this as particularly problematic for aerospace
engineering students, Jordi Puig-Suari of California Poly-
technic Institute (Cal Poly) and Robert Twiggs of Stanford
University introduced the cubesat specification2: a 10-cm
cube with mass of no more than 1 kg (see Fig. 1). In this
paper, we use a more recent, broader definition of cubesats,

1
Mass-to-orbit is a principal cost driver in space flight, hence a common
classification metric. Small satellites weigh less than 1000 kg and are sub-
classified: mini, 100–1000 kg; micro, 10–100 kg; nano, 1–10 kg; pico 0.1–
1 kg; femto <0.1 kg.
2
Cubesat Design Specification (CDS), http://www.cubesat.atl.Cal-
Poly.edu/images/developers/cds_rev12.pdf. Fig. 1. Cubesat model (credit: ESA – A. Reyes).

Please cite this article in press as: Woellert, K., et al. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na-
tions. J. Adv. Space Res. (2010), doi:10.1016/j.asr.2010.10.009

high-density memory. where students learn satellite and telecommunications while helping developing and development and exchange best practices (ESA SSETI. cubesats pro. 2009) and offers. 2009). technologies. Balogh and Haubold 2009). the potential of nano. J. K. disaster response. or other task. 2010). the other(s) to the payload. to establish or expand fledgling and storage. cubesat configurations are driven in part by launch-vehicle nous satellite technology can complement and extend UN integration-and-deployment hardware. 2U. experiment. Fig.oosa. (2010). communications. the most widely initiatives that deliver space technology for developmental used being the Cal Poly P-POD (poly-picosatellite orbital benefit. sat programs can provide near-term benefits via applica- nology Initiative (SSETI) program and the annual Euro. Overviews of duced TJ3Sat. trol and communication with the ground. ported to and through space in order to execute a measure- For nations with emerging technology sectors. Cubesat configurations. through its Education examples of their scientific impact.html. 2009). and a “bus” that includes can foster private business development with compara. a structural frame that conforms to the cubesat specification. 2004). and illustrates how cube- Office.and multi-cube configurations. emerging nations to promote science education and hasten 2010). / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 3 Though pioneered in universities. Ames’ GeneSat-1. satellite technology has not been lost on governmental 2010).1. discussed in more detail below. Adv. ing this arena. The frame accom. 2009). such as Orbital Sciences Corporation. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. In this section. their small size may blur the physical distinction The United Nations (UN) plays a key supportive role in between payload and bus. which is trans- user community (MacGillivray.” 2. Perhaps for this reason. pean Cubesat Workshop. This nano- strategies to identify space applications for countries not satellite typifies the integration of multiple recent techno- traditionally involved in such endeavors. is a 3U cubesat including one bus cube Small Satellite Programmes. Space Res. and are deployed in. Woellert et al. Configurations and technologies modates single. 2003. sponsors the Student Space Exploration and Tech. NASA Initiative (BSTI) established a three-year symposium series. doi:10. along with key technologies that are contributing to their primarily a launch service provider. de-orbit mechanism. K. in part.unvienna. low-cost precision fabrica- tion.10. water management in the Caprivi Region of Namibia ence Foundation (NSF) in the USA operate successful (DMCii. provides European Space Agency (ESA). each “U” being a 10-cm cube— the benefits small satellites and. further described in Section 3. high-energy-density batteries. rapid advance and widespread adoption. indige. more recently. and displacing larger conventional satellites in a number of operations applications (Swartwout. and since 1995 has formally recognized tions—1U. scientific disciplines. without cost to non. microelectromechanical 3 More information available:http://www. The cubesat represents a paradigm shift for the tradi- tional space industry: this technology can be “disruptive. Aerospace giant are presented together with essentials and constraints of Boeing has flown its own cubesat. power models that some developing and emerging nations may generation and distribution. et al. The UN Institute for Training and Research (UNI- space and research agencies.009 . Cubesat startup ventures provide cost determination and control. low-power communica- tions. critical support functions to operate the spacecraft: com- tively small capital outlays. as well as con- (CSTB1) (Boeing. 2. shop on Small Satellite Programmes at the Service of The breadth of cubesat applications has increased dra- Developing Countries (UNOOSA. which in 2006 intro. functions. the Cubesat TestBed 1 operation in the unique space environment. and in larger measure satellites providing remote sensing imagery to the UN due to general technological progress in rapidly evolving Space-based Information for Disaster Management and fields including microelectronics. Of the common configura- the cubesat arena. profits and academic organizations. cube to the bus. field-programma- SAP/act2010/graz/index. energy storage. The This article summarizes cubesat technology.2010.1016/j. or offer expansion markets mand and control. ble gate arrays. These three 1995.. technology development. data buffering be able to emulate. cubesat configurations are summarized. as well as the logical innovations and the advance of cubesats into new UN/IAA (International Academy of Astronautics) Work. subsystems.asr. tions such as environmental monitoring. propulsion. The National Aeronautics TAR) utilized DMC imagery to develop maps used in flood and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Sci. Othman. even medium and large aerospace corporations are enter. attitude for existing firms. Starting in 2009. users must agree to share changes and improvements with the cubesat Most spacecraft comprise a payload. the larger two lend themselves to the dedication of one vide to developing and emerging nations (UN COPUOS. cubesats ment. a forum for the exchange of and a two-cube experimental biology payload. cubesat programs. high-efficiency solar cells.3 The Disaster matically in the past decade due in part to advances specific Management Constellation (DMC) is one example of small to the conventional satellite industry. Cubesats include varying subsets of these aerospace sectors. Emergency Response (SPIDER) (UN-SPIDER Portal. miniature high-efficiency motors and Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. 2. and 3U. outer space secondary school students (OSC. the first cubesat in development entirely by how cubesats travel to. the UN Basic Space Technology deployer).org/oosa/en/ systems (MEMS).

Kodiak Island. 2003). Retrieved from IOS: http://www. doi:10. Guiana Maximum of three P-PODs planned Launch Providers and Secondary Payload Accomodations.html.009 .orbital. 4. Dnepr 7th launch campaign 2006.4 K. g NASA Wallops Flight Facility Wallops Island. Republic of the Marshall Islands. Dnepr Launch Vehicle. ESA.ru/en/rn_dnepr/. including develop the various cubesat subsystems. the overall design acoustic.kosmotras. Although there are new rideshare the space environment. a Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. e SpaceX launch facility on Omelek Island in Kwajalein Atoll. Launch providers generally require (COTS) components are used without modification to certification of suitability for vehicle integration. d Also known as Tyuratam. OSC. commercial off-the-shelf relevant experience. Wallops FFg Carries one or two P-PODs/launch Minotaur IV USAF (OSC) Kodiak. six P-PODs maximum Minotaur I USAF (OSCf) VAFB. Fr.d. et al. Launch providers.html. USA. services. integration with the launch vehicle. For example. b Vandenberg Air Force Base. The cubesat specification has helped reduce the Research Center). c Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. integrated optics..a VAFBb Optional EELVc secondary payload adapter Dnepr ISC Kosmotras Baikonurd Five P-PODs demonstrated Falcon 1 SpaceX Kwajalein. and regulatory compliance.int/SPECIALS/Education/ SEM3N03MDAF_0.esa. Russian Space Web (n.i Eua Isle. Retrieved 2010. advanced materials. a typical consumer mobile telephone “drop” requirement. and orbits Arguably the single most important reason to design a cubesat-based space mission is the number of reasonable- cost opportunities to deliver it to space.6-kg Gene-Sat-1 (credit: NASA Ames options. IOS (2010). Woellert et al. Neptune30 payload & Spaceport Tonga. subsystems and opportunities such as the NASA Educational Launch of Table 2 Launch providers and secondary payload accommodations. ESA sponsors CubeSat launch opportunity on Vega debut . Tonga Maximum of four 1U or two 2U cubesats PSLV. J. Delta IV NASA/ULA. 2. l Indian Space Research Organization. number not available Taurus XL NASA (OSC) VAFB.com/ dnepr_007_belka..com/index. 2. thermal. k Geosynchronous Space Launch Vehicle.d.).2010. OSC Publications: Taurus Specifications. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. vibration. from Russian Space Web: http://www. all costing time and demanding sors.pdf. and microfluidics. from OSC: http://www. Virginia. h Kodiak Launch Complex. as well as methods of assembly and rugged. i Interorbital Systems. located in Republic of Kazakhstan. K. 2008). Launch vehicle Provider Launch sites Secondary payload adapters and accommodations Atlas V. but requirements remain for general project administration.russianspaceweb.1016/j.). NASA Ames 3U. (n. USAF CCAFS. (2009). WFF. are often the requirements unique to operation in “hitchhiker” payload. ISC Kosmostras (2010). Table 2 catalogues some of the recent proliferation of available launch access Fig. Space Res. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx instruments developed for demanding industrial and con- sumer environments often need minimal modification for use in small satellites.j GSLVk ISROl Satish Dhawan SCm P-POD. (2010). 1 m onto a concrete floor (Xie et al. Alaska. CCAFS. California USA. microsen.asr. Kwajalein Maximum of three P-PODs planned Vega ESA Kourou.10. Adv. Florida USA.h VAFB Maximum of four P-PODs planned Neptune 30 IOS Inc. payload damaged by a mechanically deficient secondary ization.html. resources required to launch and deploy small satellites (Toorian et al.e CCAFS Ride Share Adapter. f Orbital Sciences Corp. Retrieved 2010. from ESA: http://www. Nonetheless. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. produces shock levels well in excess of those required for launch and deployment on and from typical space vehicles. USA.interorbital. m Satish Dhawan Space Center.. and vacuum testing: the “pay- of the cubesat and the density at which the subsystems are ing customer” for the launch does not want the primary integrated. Retrieved 2010.com/NewsInfo/Publications/taurus-user- guide. Retrieved from ISC Kosmotras: http://www.2. Often. actuators. j Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

” ejects the cubes- (IOS). is InterOrbital Systems a box with a spring-loaded “kicker-plate. Deployment systems Poly. which. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. manuevering or de-orbit capability (see Section 2. but even a small percentage represents many development of multiple P-POD deployment systems (i.. 2009).g. ity of isolation from the primary payload and launch vehi- integrated four cubesats that were launched successfully cle that allays launch provider concerns of potential on September 23. 2002.edu/. will debut with nine cubesats in late for Agency Projects.5 TubeSats to orbit at about 310 km. who now offer such services. and University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies Key to the success of the cubesat concept is the possibil- (UTIAS). the cubesat standard while accommodating non-longitudi- time of up to one month. (ESA). Deutsches five demonstration launches of the Vega. To comply launch vehicles. 2010).000 kg over the next five New standard launch vehicle interfaces for satellites in years. to 500–600 km. with which all major space-faring nations are developers therefore must defer to the primary payload now harmonized: satellites are to either actively or pas- mission profile. J.14 change 4. K. ments to Spacecraft and Orbital Stages on Space Debris Mitigation 1-1- ate. under a US the needs of US armed services. 2009).net/ further constrained by current guidelines adopted by the SpecialProjects/XPODindex. 9-14-2009. between a pri- NSF-sponsored cubesats.V. UN Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee viders consider cubesats to be secondary payloads. Choice of orbit is 6 UTIAS/SFL XPOD Technical Specifications http://www. The most widely used solution is Cal Poly’s and resources for cubesat design and development. STP will provide secondary payload access for six secondary satellites. 2010). European Space Agency ber of secondary payload opportunities (ESA Launchers. (2010). 2010). other orbital details are typically determined by sat. up to 181 kg each.4 Without active developers will continue to be a major limitation on utiliza. ESA ADMIN/IPOL/2008-2 Annex 1 and 2 Space Debris Mitigation rocket.75 kg) and volume of a cubesat. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. 2009 by an Indian rocket (PSLV C14) damage to. opportunities for cubesat space access (Bourne and Wil. for example. the process can be facilitated by principle. CanX-6 nanosatellite.4). and ESA’s VERTA program includes (CNES). a 20-cm cube for the quarter of 2011 (Milliron. depending on Another cubesat deployer.3.. by combining such adapters. Utilizing third-party providers frees focus mary payload. the P-POD/Mark III accommodates up with space debris-mitigation guidelines. The existence of SPAs spurred unknown. ISIS. (DLR). developed an EELV sec- selected non-military NASA and private small-satellite ondary payload adaptor (ESPA) ring to support one to projects. providing a num. IADC members: Italian Space Agency (ASI). ESPA compatible) and NPSCuL-Lite (eight 3U State Department approval for non-US entities. Launches are to begin in the first nal configurations as well.2010. regulatory certification expertise has been recognized by several academic and commercial entities. a tion unless one or more of the nano-launch vehicle initia. including Cal 2. the destination of the primary payload. K.calpoly.e. Certified for a wide variety of of the mass (0. Japan Aerospace 2010). swarms of 40 or more cubesats could be deployed a third-party launch services provider such as Cal Poly. aiming to provide low-cost space primary payload or launch vehicle.6 supports atmospheric and other conditions. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 5 Nanosatellites program (NASA ELaNa. National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU) and Russian Aviation and Space Agency (Roscosmos). established the Space Test Program (STP) as a one. the pri- (ISIS. National Aeronautics and Space Adminis- Cubesats are most commonly delivered to low Earth tration (NASA). defined as 160–2000 km above the Earth’s 5 P-POD Mk III Interface Control Document (ICD) http://www. essentially access for academic research. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). on the Indian PSLV. e. marketing an alternative to cubesats dubbed the ats in “jack-in-the-box” fashion when the door is opened TubeSat Personal Satellite (PS) Kit. The Vega 2009. tic coefficient (mass. The P-POD. cross-sectional area) and solar effects The value of providing launch vehicle integration and on upper atmosphere density. and STP P-PODs) from the US Naval Post Graduate School. Innovative Solutions In Space (ISIS). The X-POD deployed eight nanosats The US Department of Defense (DoD). with three-quarters by electrical command. ESA sponsors space access opportunities. depending on its ballis- tives cited herein are implemented. Access to any US launch vehicle requires P-PODs. 2009). mated excess mass capacity of 16.1016/j. a standard mechanism that attaches a cubesat to a A recent entrant.asr. Cubesat (IADC). Woellert et al. or impediment to the deployment of. Exploration Agency (JAXA).cube- surface. Space Res. Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales 2010 (ESA. et al. British National Space Centre (BNSC).html. provides an orbital life. Lack of dedicated space access for cubesat sively deorbit within 25 years after launch. China National Space Administration (CNSA). For example. defense agencies. launch pro. What percentage of the 16-ton mary payload and a Delta IV or Atlas V launch vehicle capacity may be reserved for national security purposes is (CSA Engineering. the Russian Space Agency (RSA) insists each payload be certified to have no military 4 UN IADC-02-01 Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines 10-15- capability. Surrey Ltd.NASA-STD-8719. adapters for the adapter).utias-sfl. cubesat is therefore altitude limited. the UTIAS X-POD.atl. for example. including the NPSCuL (10 5U liams.10. Zentrum fuer Luft-und Raumfahrt e. Adv. CSA Engineering. with an esti. RSA General Require- Through its Education Office and Launchers Director.009 . In approval is case by case. doi:10. P-POD. IOS plans for to three individual 1U cubesats or one 3U configuration. and Air Force small business grant. Along similar lines. the micro and mini classes can indirectly benefit cubesat stop coordinator for military experimental satellites serving deployment.. orbit (LEO).

with which contact was lost after systems utilize the space environment to naturally orient it reached orbit. towards oped that could provide minimal orbital maneuvering. the magnetic north or south pole. ADCSs are of two classes: passive and of this charged conductor produces a magnetic field oppos.5 mN. creating drag. et al. The 3U cubesats also rotate about their long axis at a rate of 1–2 rpm. nanoTerminator.g.org).. Delfi- flight experiment aimed to depoly three nanosats along a C3. and an average specific 2 and 3 picosats used an inflatible balloon to shorten orbi. and volume constraints. UTIAS in partnership with Sinclair Interplanetary offers a complete turnkey ADCS and sensor package (UTIAS SFL. the project closed (DTUsat. A variety of sensors determines orientation. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 2. it slowly rotates so that the mag- Other cubesat-appropriate technologies have been devel. 2009). mass of 300 g. the most common approach among cubesats ambitious Multi-Application Survivable Tether (MAST) (e. a combination of permanent magnet(s) that orient one ing. Sandia National bit process. e. 2010). Fig. but a number of ADCS compo- nents are now becoming available for cubesats.. “sail” that stows in a 10  10  1 cm volume. whichever is closer. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. 2010). netic hysteresis rods. 2010). The NASA Ames O/OREOS 3U cubesat range of 100 lN to 10 mN. and even miniature thrusters (Section 2. it resembles a box kite made with aluminized polymer panels. (2010). 2004). increasing surface area by 60% (NASA 2. thereby complying with space debris mitigation Laboratories developed a monopropellant microthruster standards—an issue of increasing importance to cubesat using electrokinetic pumping and catalytic decomposition developers (Spacenews. mass.009 . Vac- uum arc thrusters were part of the ill-fated Illinois Observ- The extremely limited mass. on XI-IV. but full deployment had not been confirmed as of May end of the satellite towards the closer of the Earth’s mag- 2007 (Hoyt et al.4. 2004). Tethers Unlimited announced in netic poles (often used to point radio antennas). oriented so as to damp nutation or mountable on any face of a 1U cubesat and comprising a “wobble” in satellite motion. doi:10. netic rods point. momentum wheel.c). active. when 2010).. including sun sensors. again by interaction with conformal solar array module and a 30-m conductive tape. ing NanoSatellite (ION) (Rysanek and Hartman.asr. which was implemented by Quakesat.g. PharmaSat. (orbits are 90–100 min).100 (Micro-Space.6 K. magnetometer. 2007). A MEMS cold gas thruster (credit: Micro-Space. but have not operated in orbit. Until recently. 3. 3 shows a MEMS tal life from a nominal 1–3 years to 2–3 months (PicoSat. Propulsion and de-orbit systems for formation flying.. Another approach to stabilization is use of the gravity gradient. K. 2009) will use a simple spring-deployed power draw. J. demonstrating tethers for on-orbit maneuver. the tether is charged. and a ing Earth’s field. 2008). The the satellite. The first cubesat with a range of actuators maintains or changes attitude. Attitude determination and control systems Ames. cold-gas thruster developed by MicroSpace. volume. and pulsed-plasma thrusters (Zhuang drag (atmospheric or magnetic) in order to hasten the deor.b. of liquid anhydrous hydrazine to deliver controlled-thrust onstrated to date exploit atmospheric drag by increasing pulses with a maximum continuous thrust of 1. colloid thrusters (Busek..5.1016/j. electrospray technology which to date have been limited to mechanisms to increase (Lozano. et al.. Remote sensing. De-orbit concepts dem. deployed. The trend in active systems is three-axis control to support more challenging mission requirements. high-performance ADCSs were not possible in cubesats due to power. Woellert et al. CAPE-1. Magneto- torquers. including imaging. like the needle of a compass. and pointing resolution of 0. the geomagnetic field. For deorbiting purposes. it has a thrust Portal. actively or by collecting tains or adjusts that orientation as appropriate for mission electrons present in the (inner) Van Allen belt. An attitude-determination-and-control system (ADCS) nect a satellite bus to an electrical conductor (or a second measures the orientation of the satellite and either main- satellite).10. and power avail. Passive tether was DTUSat-1. GeneSat-1. 2010) is 1-km tether. plus mag- 2009 a commercial de-orbit mechanism.2010. 2009a. magnetorquers. a comparatively sophisticated three-axis ADCS. often requires active ADCS (Vega et al. momentum wheels. gas propulsion system was flown on the Canx-2 3U cubesat Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. the surface area of the satellite once on orbit: AeroCube minimum impulse bit of 7 lN s. 2010). impulse of 110 s (Patel et al. 2009). able on cubesats severely constrain propulsion systems. electromagnetic tethers con. 2002). The motion requirements. As a 3U cubesat with this attitude This device is claimed to allow cubesat orbits as high as control mechanism passes from the northern to southern 1000 km while maintaining compliance with space debris hemisphere and back again. Mea Huaka. liquid-SF6-fuelled cold Fig. Space Res.4) can be purchased. 2009) have been developed as well. 2 W maximum (Ehrenfreund et al. typically every 45–50 min guidelines (Hoyt et al. Adv. UWE-1) (EO Portal.. QuakeSat.

2004). data. radiation levels are modest due to shielding by eclipse requires energy storage.6. ics. junction solar cells with efficiencies above 30% are available tional cost. 2010). options are generally performance and capability against with potential for 20–60 W of power generation in full sun- complexity. operational commands from the ground and transmits Average power generation and consumption for cubes. of communications systems and vice versa. The nature of a cubesat mission can dictate the type ats ranges from 2 TO 6 W (time averaged) for 1–3U nano. Even when the satellite is in the sun. 2010)..009 . One remotely satellites using “body-mounted” (fixed. GeneSat-1. When “radiation-hardened” electronic bridge temporarily high power demand. Communications iThemba Labs in Cape Town. as in (exceeding several months). Electronics and power. for example. Emcore. Fortunately. batteries can help eration as well. such as when the components are not available at reasonable cost. (2009). Lithium-ion battery tech- Earth’s magnetosphere. radiation radio is transmitting or a heater is warming a cold experi- testing of components and subsystems can be accomplished mental subsystem to operating temperature. such as parameters—magnetic fields. MASAT-1. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. but even alteration of the choice of circuit ing on orbital parameters. heaters may be needed at times architecture—to prevent degradation or failure of electron. doi:10.1016/j. for example. Capacious memory and COTS processors con- at a cost of increased complexity and risk of deployment sistent with cubesat power limitations enable onboard data failure. K. Woellert et al. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. 2010). but. they do have to be appropriately managed for require engineering design—primarily shielding and com. WPM = words per minute. Several concepts are now in design or prototype storage and compression. The Proton Therapy Cooperative Group maintains a listing of such The communications subsystem is critical: it receives facilities (PTCOG. at low cost utilizing medical radiation sources. and Pharma.g. discoloration of optical elements can become a consid.47 MHz 600 mW CP2 Downlink 437. South Africa. the Loma Linda Proton Treatment Center in California or 2. et al. Triple- cation) versions of some components. increase in power-to-mass ratio (EO Portal. Retrieved 2010. etc. b bps = bits per second. 2010. d MASAT-1. J. however. temperatures.asr. non-deployed) acquired image. offer a lower probability of failure due to commercially (Spetrolab. At alti. Space Res. space radiation may laptop use. Deployable solar arrays. while the measurement of physical Sat (EO Portal. The tradeoffs in the various ADCS stages that integrate solar arrays with de-orbit mechanisms.a Cubesat Communications frequency Downlink power Data rateb Masat-1d Downlink 438 MHz/uplink 435 MHz 200 mW 1200 bps Cute-1 DownLink1 436.10. radiation considerations gies: the Dutch Delfi-C3 triple unit cubesat. size. K. 2010). and cost. can range from tens to thou- solar panels. a beacon is an autonomous. more rigorous standards of manufacture and test. available at addi. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 7 (Rankin et al. and comparatively little “memory” effect: they do not have tudes above 3000 km or for long-duration missions to be fully discharged before being recharged. and much of the radiation present nology is well suited to this task in terms of energy density can be shielded by a few mm of aluminium plate. baud = successfully received bits per second. 2009). Cubesats are excellent platforms for cost-effective testing of new power generation technolo- 2. is testing advanced thin-film solar cells with a planned effi- Most cubesats successfully utilize COTS electronic ciency of 12% and a goal of 50% cost reduction and 50% components. as demonstrated by GeneSat-1 and other cubesats. as on AAUSAT-2. broadcast-only radio typically used to help locate the satellite after deployment. light intensi- those on QuakeSat and the quadruple array of Delfi-C3 ties. adding flexibility to the downlink Table 3 Selected cubesat communications performance parameters..3 MHz 500 mW 1200 bps GeneSat-1 Downlink/uplink 2. c In the satellite communications context.2010.bme. accelerations. e. to keep the batteries in their operating temperature range. offer (much) greater power generation data point. from MASAT-1: http://cube-sat. 2010.7. typical orbits expose the spacecraft to the Sun for about in LEO below 3000 km (most cubesats orbit below 2/3 of each 90–105 min orbit. so continued function during 1000 km).8 MHz 100 mW 1200 bps DownLink2 437.—typically require a few bytes per (EO Portal. sands of kilobytes.hu/?page_id=25&lang=en. Adv. So-called “MIL-SPEC” (US military specifi. 2010). charge/discharge cycles and thermal parameters: depend- ponent choice. light (Silver et al.. and Batteries play a key role in the operation of cubesats: often a wider operating temperature range.4 GHz frequency-hopping 1W 1200 baud UHF beaconc (transmit only) 500 mW CanX-2 Downlink 2-4 GHz (S-band) 500 mW 32 kbps to 1 Mbps Uplink UHF Amateur Radio 1W 4 kbps VHF beacon 15 WPM a Adapted from Klofas et al. (2010). packets of data can be carried on beacon pulses as (partial) backup for data downlinking via the primary radio.

obtaining a permit for amateur radio alloca. The relatively low cost of amateur radio ally. 2009). Ground Stations for communications with cubesats is their high rate of motion in LEO relative to ground stations. 2009)..8. their website encourages public participation by uplinking and downlinking of data are further limited. project can elect to participate in GENSO and utilize any cial satellite operators must follow to obtain frequency participating ground station. and open-source OUFTI-1 will be the first satellite to demonstrate the D. For example. eventu- Union (ITU).10. ground station.009 . and has been active for nearly a century. It is also important to note parts. cubesat radios also throttles downlink rates (see Table 3). 4. and for typical orbits there may be just cated communications subsystems than their 1U counter. The cubesat cost standard communications hardware. Sweden. and often for data stations interconnected via the internet. the CAPE2. publicly uted nature allows ground stations to increase the daily accessible use. Satellites in LEO travel across the visible sky at amount of data downlink. through its Education Office. which typically occurs for only flight of the European Vega (Xatcobeo. Recently. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx process. The communications subsystem of the Xatcobeo cubesat. (Fig. The quality A major challenge when operating a cubesat is obtaining of the link therefore varies considerably during a pass over. mitigating research is ongoing high rates. sponsors the Global Educa- The relationship of amateur radio7 and cubesats is note. useful data on Earth in a reasonable time period (days– head—which may last only a few minutes—limiting the months). control described in Section 2. Software-defined radio can reduce power ticipating institutions in the US. which will test a software-recon- can consume 50% or more of the total available power figurable radio. altitudes is typically a few minutes per “pass” over a 2U and 3U cubesats can accommodate more sophisti.. 2010). and the 7 Amateur radio. Space Res. a high-data. hence the window of visibility at typical cubesat with some success (Caffrey and Palmer. UHF. For non-commercial. Ham operators are licensed by local governments and communicate with other operators as a hobby or for public service. The ITU has allocated bands in the HF. a peer-to-peer client server network of ground quency spectrum for beacon purposes. and consumption and mass while improving flexibility and effi. Limited power for (Shah et al. GENSO ground station network. VHF.8). Fig. works supporting educational satellite operations. to test soft- ware-defined radio (Barousse and Oliver. a 3U cubesat. K. UNISEC has standardized software. near-continuous periods of satellite communication equipment has led to its wide adoption by cubesat projects (GENSO. an educational satellite tion is considerably less complex than the process commer. 2010). Woellert et al. Cubesats are beginning to broadcast images and voice and because most university projects can afford only one data. and microwave portions of the spectrum for amateur radio. is supported by organizations worldwide. an example being the SEEDS cubesat of Nihon Uni. 2010). released ciency. The S-band transmitter has a dynamic data the satellite is useful only for passes over ground stations in rate of 32 kbps to 1 Mbps dependent on the link condition one hemisphere (northern/southern). Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. A challenge 2. amount of satellite visibility. often called Ham radio.2010. at a cost of longer (software) development times. Germany. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. ESA.g. or two ground stations with “small” (e.5 causing a slow “tumble” of rate S-band transmitter. one-three such passes per day. a radio antenna on one end of transmitter.8 K. for ground station The University of Louisiana at New Orleans’ is developing management and web-enabled services.asr. for ground station communication. providing redundant ground station services or verification of cubesat beacons following on-orbit deployment. software have enabled a proliferation of ground station net- STAR communications protocol in space (OUFTI-1. tional Network for Satellite Operations (GENSO) project worthy: nearly all cubesats use this portion of the fre. with the common magnetic-rod-based passive attitude communication transmitters: a VHF beacon. 2009). Spanish Ministry of Science is co-sponsoring development formance parameters. the internet. 4). a matter of minutes per day when the satellite is in the line of sight of the ground station (see Section 2. 2010).1016/j. et al. Another ground station network is the non-profit PCI-compliant. This approach has tremen- allocations through the International Telecommunications dous potential for global ground station access and. 3-m) antennas. versity. and a full duplex amateur radio the satellite every 1/2-orbit. for public use in 2007 (UNISEC. GENSO’s distrib- uplink/downlink as well. the second in its series of cubesats. low-cost. Table 3 lists typical cubesat communications per.. 2008). has three that. high-capability analog/digital University Space Engineering Consortium (UNISEC) converters and field-programmable gate arrays enable GSN-WG (ground station network working group). amateur radio has been closely coupled to student education in satellite commu- nications. doi:10. Taiwan. low- of a voice message (Yamazaki et al. CanX-2. enabling amateur radio operators to request transmission Partially addressing such limitations. (2010). J. with emulation of most conventional radio hardware functions thirteen Japanese universities and four additional par- using software. it is scheduled for launch on the maiden budget when transmitting. Adv.

cubesat XI-IV. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions.. Cubesats for science research. 2007. For more information visit the NASA months in orbit and. cubesats can go to orbits where load (SwissCube. cubesats can help address evolutionary commercial application questions. they can be oriented such that 8 Planetary protection is the principle that seeks to prevent contamina- the average daily duration of solar UV exposure is much tion of other solar system bodies by life from Earth. Cottin et al. and the time-dependent viability of living organisms in plary entry-level ground station was a student project at space.009 . ously monitored. self-contained instruments networks. with in situ measurement technology. At the other end of the A study on micrometeorites in LEO will be conducted cost spectrum. (O/OREOS) cubesat weighs approximately 5 kg and Austria.gov/ the dynamics of space-induced changes can be continu. for which a senior undergraduate ble-NIR spectrometer (200–1000 nm. pp/. In situ measurement cube nanosatellites of the BRITE constellation.2.10. The utility of cubesats as scientific research and technol- ogy validation platforms is now increasingly recognized.. technology validation. or biomarkers—to astrobiologically important aspects of the space environment. For example. expected to be launched purchase of a commercial turnkey system. Adv. or protect the Earth longer. Astrobiology eters with specific filters for synchronized asteroseismology observations: pressure and gravity waves in the interior of Astrobiology is the study of the origin. the cost of developing one ground site in this net. Austria. an example being the HERMES-A/MINO. and study planetary protection8 concerns. 3. where in the solar system. using an innovative optical telescope as the primary pay- 2008. such as the com. reveal- 3 (Canadian Advanced Nanosatellite eXperiment-3)/ ing a wide range of science and technology missions exe- TUGSAT-1 is a collaborative mission of UTIAS/SFL. the work is a model 2010). objects. blocks of biology. cuted by well-known as well as non-traditional. Horneck et al. Space Res. and the Insti- space technology. the space Many cubesat-appropriate opportunities exist for the environment. Cute-1. plete VHF/UHF-capable ground station available for pur. Vancouver. 2006). 2010). as well as organic com- tion. Woellert et al. Cubesats enable such data provides insight about the star’s core composi- exposure of micro-organisms. Planetary Protection website. including solar vacuum ultraviolet and ionizing radiation. and Vienna. and QuakeSat. 2010). low-cost.com. Table 4 lists a An example of the application of nanosatellites in non-comprehensive sampling of science and technology astronomy. J. a capability in chronic short supply. Whether they remain in orbit as free-flying spacecraft or are delivered to a remote surface 3. and future of life in the universe. Cubesat experiments can continue for many from contamination by possible lifeforms as a result of activities involving interplanetary space missions. interplanetary space. The recently-launched on the International Space Station (ISS) with post-flight SwissCube will study atmospheric airglow phenomena ground analysis (Ehrenfreund et al. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. evolution. Atmospheric science (see also Earth observation) studies are key to understanding how such compounds and organisms survive in. pounds—particularly those considered potential building 2006). rather than being limited to simple 9 UniBRITE and BRITE-AUSTRIA (TUG-SAT1) are the two 20-cm- before-and-after-flight comparisons. BRITE (BRIght-star Target Explorer)/CanX- applications of flight-proven and planned payloads. The US NSF has funded the the radiation dose is significantly higher (at least one order of magnitude) than on ISS. <2 nm resolution) designed a mobile ground station that successfully tracked developed commercially (Aurora Design Technology. et al.1016/j.nasa.2010. Mars. An exem.3. and for in situ studies. actors in the Technical University of Graz. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 9 Developing a dedicated ground station provides greater also obviates the need for “downmass” (bringing a payload independence at a financial cost... and else- which integrates cubesats with the internet (EXA. 5. These 3. (2010). http://www. of resourcefulness (Ichikawa. Analysis of bution. tute of Astronomy at the University of Vienna.1. Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) developed a ground-station NASA’s Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses network with sites in Toronto..planetaryprotection. development time can be minimized by the by the Romanian Goliat Mission. suitable for piggyback payload opportunities to near-Earth TAUR project sponsored by the Ecuadoran Space Agency. While similar studies have been carried out study of atmospheric sciences. 2006). distri- pulsating stars affect their frequency spectra. and internal structure (Deschamps et al. age. Several South nology offers particular promise as the basis for a new gen- American countries are developing cubesat ground station eration of light-weight.asr. identify human exploration risks. doi:10. Astronomy and developers are responding with instrumentation capa- bilities normally applied on larger satellites. UTIAS back from ISS). or are modified by. on the maiden flight of the European VEGA. This pair of small satellites9 is designed to utilize photom- 3. the Moon. includes two independent science payload instruments to work with automatic satellite tracking is several tens of study space environmental effects on organic compounds thousands of Canadian dollars (Tuli et al.. cubesat tech- chase online from ISIS cubesatshop. K. K. Although used exclusively in LEO to date. size. O/OREOS features a 1/2-cube UV–visi- the University of Hawaii. Austria. 2010). see Fig.

it/~atmocube/. (NCube1 was destroyed at launch) Technology established Electronics Robusta: Validate test standards for space CNES/ESA/Montpellier University In progress. Retrieved 2010. partial demonstration communications only NANOSAIL-D: 3U cubesat to demonstrate NASA/Marshall Spaceflight Center In progress.2010. RAX 3U cubesat to examine interactions of plasma elec. eval. FireFly. c CINEMA = cubesat for ions. altering growth rates Corporation. U. are also affected: the absence of gravity University.10. a collaboration between Boston ture. GPS demonstration success receiver. Category Mission Sponsor/lead agency Statusa Astrobiology O/OREOS: UV–visible spectral monitoring: NASA/ARC In progress.asr.000 km).: propulsion system. neutrals. Synergies Space biology examines the effects of the space environ. and magnetic fields. Stanford University. Technology CANX-2: Tech. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx Table 4 Sampling of completed and proposed nanosatellite science and technology missions. Woellert et al. but can be significant even at the 300–800 km altitudes frequented by cubesats. immune stress. Adv. AtmoCube: http://www2. Biology above 70. et al. full mission success fluorescent reporters in microgravity Santa Clara University Earth observation QuakeSat: Measure extra-low freq. between microgravity and radiation effects have been ment on terrestrial life. nominal operation earth observation Ecology NCube2: Large ship AISb. magnetic L = 6/2003. L = 2011 radiation and upper atmosphered sponsors FIREFLY: Terrestrial gamma-ray flashes NSF In progress induced by lightning RAX: Plasma interactions of the NSF In progress thermosphere Biology GeneSat-1: E. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. 2005).1016/j. Space also carries significant risk gamma-ray flashes induced by lightning (FireFly. Microgravity affects mammals in reported (Nelson. will study terrestrial and metabolic processes. 2010. K. successful. b AIS = automatic identification system. coli gene expression via NASA/ARC. 2010). attitude sensors/actuators. from University of Trieste Cubesat project. Santa Clara U. test of Universidad Sergio Arboleda L = 4/2007. muscle atrophy—but not even the hoped a better understanding of these interactions will pro. Canova et al. Montana State University. basic systems deactivated MAST: Electromagnetic tether technology Tethers Unlimited L = 4/2007. doi:10. IR spectrometer for pollution Libertad-1: Colombia’s 1st satellite. 1996. technology Demonstration radios. trons in the lower polar thermosphere. 2010). (RAX. nominal operation waves from earthquakes in space PRISM: Validation of medium-resolution University of Tokyo L = 1/2009. smallest mammals are likely to fly anytime soon aboard vide strategies to mitigate communications disruptions (EO size-constrained cubesats.009 .. Texas Medical L = 5/2009. no comm. however. J. Trieste and commercial In progress. L = 2011 nanosatellites for asteroseismology Promotion Agency (FFG) Atmospheric Science SwissCube: telescopic investigation of Ecole Polytechnique Federale de L = 9/2009. L = 2010 solar propulsion Space Weather CINEMAc detection of sub-atomic particles UC Berkeley Space Sciences Lab/ In progress from space magnetic storms Imperial College/NSF Telecommunications NEMISIS survey spectrum 1–1300 MHz: US Naval Academy In progress document radio-frequency interference a “L” = launch. various ways—altered fluid distribution. reindeer tracking Norwegian U.. d AtmoCube. Cells and microorganisms in cul- Portal. of biological damage from high-energy ionizing radiation. 2010) it is bone density decrease. which is greater outside Earth’s magnetosphere (altitudes 3. AtmoCube. full mission success of yeast in microgravity Branch.10 K. electrons. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. nominal operation atmospheric airglow phenomena LauSanne AtmoCube: Interaction between space Univ. Vienna/Austrian Research In progress. no communication research Pharmaceutical Efficacy PharmaSat: Antifungal agent dose response NASA/ARC. also funded by NSF. UTIAS/SFL. Space Res. of Science and L = 10/2005. L = 5/2010 organic materials. L = 2010 radiation impact on electronics Materials Processing HawkSat 1: Commercial materials processing Hawk Institute for Space Sciences L = 5/2009. (2010). CSA L = 4/2008. space radiation effects on survival/growth of 2 microbes Astronomy BRITE/CanX-3/TUGSAT-1: Constellation of CSA/U. and the Aerospace impacts nutrient and waste transport. L = 12/2006.4.units.

in December 2008. Data returned from LEO by GeneSat-1 demonstrate oped and operated by the University of Tokyo (Fig. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. doi:10. was designed to extend as a tele- date required organisms to be held in stasis for weeks prior scopic boom following spacecraft deployment. renewal of E. cerevisiae. (ELF) magnetic field disturbances emanating from Earth: in GeneSat-1 launched in December of 2006 as a secondary the early 90s.. Drosophila radiation absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere (Sarda et al. 35 cm) was launched into an 840-km sun-synchronous.7300 . J. the circular array of organic sample cells at the left end of the satellite is exposed directly to spheric gases (pollutants and greenhouse gases) over space. In May of 2009. Lon. E. Space Res. C. Such studies help elucidate 2006).asr.. PRISM image centered approximately Lat. mass of 230 g. a 3U cubesat (11  11  characterize potential mutations of microbes and patho. an deployment: cubesats that support living biology have to induction magnetometer. K. but its mass of 8. 2004).5. NASA Ames O/OREOS 3U satellite. and help in planning therapies to treat feasibility for on-orbit detection of extremely low frequency illness or injury in space.3300 closely matches image accessed from Google Maps October 10. The patch (3 kg). melanogaster and Arabidopsis. Woellert et al. It was designed to validate detection of gas- space biology using well-understood model microorgan. (credit: NASA Ames Research Center).. cerevisiae to the board along the focal line of the NAC. The 48-microwell biology experiment of 6. Earth observation Cubesats can serve as extremely low-cost remote sensing platforms. 6).ac.2  40 cm (stowed) dimensions are ronment with monitoring of culture population via optical beyond the cubesat realm. to launch due to requirements of launch vehicle integra. coli growth in a multiwell fluid culture envi. and instrumentation technology advances along with innovative designs are enabling cubesat remote sens- ing applications.. Upon attaining Fig. help In June of 2003 QuakeSat.5 km2. et al.u-tokyo. The Argus has a 900–1700 nm spectral range. 2006). (2010). PRISM is an Earth-imaging validation mission devel- tion. PRISM’s 19. 2010). covering a one square km sample area. were maintained in stasis for 5 weeks prior to launch and The primary payload instrument aboard QuakeSat.1016/j. Adv. 3. 6. For example.6 kg is in the density and tracking of gene expression via green fluores. nanosatellite class. elegans. 2007). anomalous ELF signatures were reportedly payload on a Minotaur I rocket (Ricco et al. a linear actuator moves the CMOS imager characterized the dose-response of S. K. +24°410 37.2010. 2004.space. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. gens present in space habitats (Castro et al. 5.. spectrometers. It was designed to show and Howard.009 . eous species by sampling the radiance response due to solar isms such as E. Another example. S. and dimensions of 5  6  8 cm Cubesats are well-suited to the study of fundamental (Thoth. PRISM image available: http://www. the CANX-2 cubesat independent payload instruments (1U each) and a 1U bus. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 11 antifungal drug voriconazole using 3-wavelength optical measurements (Parra et al. PharmaSat.html. Klaus dawn-dusk orbit (Flagg et al.10. launched and chromatic design resolution of 10 m and a field of view deployed in LEO. are now commercially available and flight proven Fig.. utilizing angle camera (NAC) with CMOS imager having a pan- the same 3U form factor as GeneSat-1. effects relevant to long-duration human space travel.1). which includes two (see Section 3. coli detected by satellites prior to and after large earthquakes. coli. 2009). Ontario. used its Argus IR spectrometer to analyze atmo- antenna is visible at the right end of the satellite. Canada.2  19.t. 2009. once consid- ered incompatible with the mass and power limitations of cubesats. PRISM cubesat and image taken over the coast of western Mexico. PRISM’s main payload is a narrow- cent protein assay.jp/prism/ main-e. 107°570 18.

or Uganda. and a remarkably “quiet” Ecological field studies could exploit the large geographical vibrational environment. following the Kashmir Earthquake of 2005. ical ISS experimental durations. 6 shows PRISM with For example. and other matter in space.000). Woellert et al. based on a 3U cubesat group of nations that manage ISS activities. the ISS environment is vibrationally “noisy” due to on- ing a 1. Space weather awareness is arguably important to value of electronic testing on cubesats is also important developing and emerging nations as well. particularly for those not among the olution imaging system. and Technology was designed and launched to monitor access for a broader group of participants. Dobson Space Telescope is develop.7. allow calibration of satellite attitude. even years).009 . Space Res. advertises a turnkey 7. It is a “simple” 1U.. but access of a cubesat: Pumpkin. doi:10. In addition. Other. yellow fever (Beck et al. microgravity platforms such as sounding rockets. but also was to expose a num- national conservatory programs using cubesats for remote ber of material samples to space. The US HawkSat-1. involving the measurement of temperatures. ambient plasma. grated system for in situ component analysis is straightfor- board wide-angle cameras confirmed deployment and ward. et al. (2010). radiation. long-duration animal population dynamics via space-based tracking of microgravity (months. weather is well recognized by the developed world due to vide unique opportunities to iteratively improve electronic its impact on telecommunications and national electrical technology for aerospace applications. €30. Materials processing during crisis responses (disaster management). billed as “le satellite qui NAC deployed and an image by PRISM of roads and s’expose” (Table 4) will validate test standards for space other terrestrial topography. Inc. is costly and limited. 2008). affordable 2010). not including sponsor hardware donations and crop type. satellite Development of novel materials and processing methods imagery was crucial for disaster response teams to assess in microgravity could create new intellectual property. (Kalman et al. developing a small inte- mm-aperture lens mounted on an extendable boom. on. and this sort of data can help identify correla. The educational grids. Cubesats as materials development-and-processing The NCube2 by the Norwegian University of Science research platforms have the advantages of reasonable cost. ity environment is less than perfect. which cubesat platform for this purpose is sample return: charac- can be affordably dedicated to small niche studies with cor. launch as a secondary payload on the ESA Vega’s maiden tions between environmental factors and human disease flight. have promotional value in their own right. Adv. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx orbit at 660 km (98° inclination).1016/j. 1-kg cubesat mission led and vectors such as the mosquitoes that transmit malaria and developed primarily by a university group. claimed to be board machinery. dedicated cubesat ecological studies could sure. terization of newly developed materials must be carried out respondingly small budgets. 2010). 2005). J. cubesats pro. whose the Hawk Institute for Space Sciences (Table 4) (Hawk economies strongly depend on tourism related to their Institute. PRISM deployed a 90.8. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. human activities. This can be a good deployable solar arrays for power. so the micrograv- suitable for use in a 1U cubesat (Dobson Space Telescope. Fig. K.2-U telescope with 6-m resolution. materials experiment. a 1U cubesat. 2000). Kenya. imaging (Tanaka et al.12 K. exceeding even the typ- radio collar transmitters on reindeer (EO Portal. Ecology tage of limited duration. Images provided through the UN rapid which emerging and developing nations could share in such mapping network were on the order of 15 m resolution opportunities.int... and high-altitude balloon drops have the disadvan- 3.10 PRISM utilizes voltages.6. magnetic fields.000 is adequate to identify and map vegetation and agricultural ($41.. 2009). The principle limitation of the coverage and frequent revisit rate of LEO cubesats. record the effects of expo- monitoring. in situ using analytical methods that fly along with the craft for such monitoring would be cost prohibitive. For exam- ple. Cubesat imaging could be applied to directly save lives 3. to note: for many components. per- earthquake damage and determine which roads remained haps even open new markets. might enhance their a technology demonstration.9. was developed primarily as indigenous wildlife populations.asr. and cubesats are a means by open to deliver aid.5-m-res. using large monolithic space. developed by Countries such as Tanzania. 2009). and telemeter the data to the ground station. Exact (primarily) near-Earth space. Space weather11 3.10. potentially within reach of the capabilities long-duration. and/or logic outputs. etc. including dynamic phenomena involving resolution has not been cited. a 3-axis ADCS uses “starter” project for those initiating their first space science magnetorquers to provide the necessary stability for Earth and technology activities. MISC. Electronics The importance of monitoring and understanding space With their rapid development life cycles.. The ISS is the preferred platform for its (esa. currents. parabolic flights. Robusta. since their 10 11 Available literature implies image resolution actually obtained on orbit Space weather comprises the changing environmental conditions in is greater than the design resolution of 10 m but less than 30 m. 3.2010. hands-on access opportunities. The resolution of such images radiation effects on electronics at a cost of ca.

1.uscg. the Libertad-1 cubesat.’s 25-cm cube. see US Coast Guard.1. Furthermore. in part due to limitations in ter.10. space weather as instant messages and email. organizations promoting increased utilization of cubesats was developed in-house by an academic institution and is through ground station networks. across science and engineering. or bulk voice. handheld tuneable wideband receiver to survey the spec- trum from 1 to 1300 MHz for “harmful” interference sources that affect satellite communications systems in the 3. One aspect of such capital is the ability to innovate and utilize technology. the intellectual capital of its people.. Relative to large satellites. This is consistent with pedagogical theory www.10. that engendering passion for learning. ors that marshal intellectual capacity from many disciplines restrial communications infrastructure.2010. et al. (2010). Space Affairs (UNOOSA). 2010). K.gov/?pageName=typesAIS. technology innovation. Such constellations may not support relay of video  Encourage participation of secondary-school-level stu- dents with university-level cubesat programs where 12 Automatic Identification Sytems (AIS).” (SAA). / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 13 national infrastructures often depend on satellite and cellu. has recognized the role of efforts such as the SchoolNet Africa project. Many of the diverse science applications summa- The discussion to this point has covered the description rized earlier in this section (see Table 4) are either technol- and capabilities of the cubesat platform. The following are examples of policy implementations cles to “tele-education” (UNOOSA. particularly in Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. STEM education and workforce development has attracted the attention of entrepreneurs in the US. demonstrat- ing on-orbit tracking of AIS12 beacons. and various Colombia’s first space mission. small satellites for sustainable development through build- cates internet access for African schools (Spacenews. through its UN/Austria/ESA with bandwidth demand forecast to increase by 50% from Symposia on Small Satellite Programmes for Sustainable 2008 to 2016. Space Res. technology innovation. providing limited “telecom- is not globally uniform: the South Atlantic Anomaly munications independence. 11-kg “almost-nano” satellites passing directly through it. activities by uni- ogy demonstrations or their first successors. and the MAST experiment to validate electro-magnetic (EM) science. Adv. not surprising versities and entrepreneurs. ing a “critical mass of professionals” (UN COPUOS. advanced pursuing industrial development may consider.navcen. satellite bandwidth charges were one of the largest obsta. The UN Office for Outer munications demand along the African coast is on the rise. Technology demonstration VHF and UHF ranges (US Naval Academy. engineer- tious missions targeting cutting-edge technology include ing. Now the focus turns to an entry-level technology familiarization mission. sits above parts of South America Although oversize relative to cubesats. technology. ators. ence and technology: munications constellation in space at comparatively low cost. and math (STEM). K.009 . 3. secondary payload opportuni- given the newness of the cubesat platform. The nation of ties offered by space launch providers.1. while inside the SAA. an application that 4. development of technological expertise or the validation and science of new technologies with substantially less risk and resources. cubesats can further the 4.c). but certainly can support text content such lar communications networks. and has the most impact on satellites Satellite. 2010).b. which advo. with several startups now offering remote infrastructure moni- The economic prosperity of a nation depends in part on toring services (AprizeSat. tether propulsion (Section 2. 2008). including monitoring propane tank levels upon overhead satellites that must communicate or image via a store-and-forward message system (PERC. J. 2009a. and multi-cubesat launch sis on impassioning youth to pursue study and careers in sci- capability could enable a nation to place a minimal com. weather research is the CINEMA collaborative effort particularly in amateur radio bands from unlicensed oper- (Table 4) a pair of 3U cubesats that will conduct stereo. The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs noted 2009). Implications for STEM education. the US Naval Academy Satellite Lab has proposed scopic detection of sub-atomic particles resulting from NEMISIS. This 1U cubesat would adapt a commercial space magnetic storms (NSF. Ambi- implications for education in science. Woellert et al. Promising that current space-faring and non-space faring countries developments in cubesat formation flying. com. The high cost of bandwidth hampers UN Development (Graz Symposia). Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. http:// appropriate. for example.4) and CANX-6. The dynamics of the SAA could fly in a constellation in LEO for a range of infrastructure therefore be of particular importance to nations reliant applications. Inc. doi:10. 2010). 2006). with empha- communications techniques. Responding to ever-increasing electromagnetic interfer- An example of the use of a nanosatellite for space ence due to the proliferation of low-cost radio equipment.1016/j. four of Aprize and southern Africa. Telecommunications which in turn depends on educating youth to be the work- Some developing and emerging countries may have force of tomorrow.asr. good reason to establish indigenous telecommunications Space programs by their very nature are holistic endeav- services based on cubesats. For example.

org. allowing farmers to take preventive 12. Innovation strategies market-pull strategy to satisfy bandwidth demand would distinguish between technology push and market pull. developing nations are in a sense already dependent on space technology. enously or under a fee-for-service approach. J. GENSO ground station network. However. on littoral ecotourism. health services for developing the HUMSAT project. economy. Remote sensing products utilized experience with tangible hardware. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. Adv. (2010). In mary purpose of humanitarian aid. Since cellular networks require satellite “back- and the relation to the opportunities afforded by cubesats. 1961 of its indigenous OSCAR 1 satellite with action to protect crops and plan irrigation (Murthy. Space Res. USA (OSC. AMSAT also has an active role providing remote sensing providers. which rather than later in their education. hydrology.2010.. Both demands are within the capabilities of current development. Many developing nations have unique environments and ecolo- Key success criteria for the aforementioned policy strat. and publicizing results is addressed by the plethora of of new tourist sites (Kumari et al. project goal is to facilitatie in situ climate measurements about 75% of the population live in rural areas and many using low-data rate communications for areas with mini- rely on subsistence farming (USAID. If there is any doubt is one of the top industries.2. The issue of analyzing. and Tanzania technologies accessible on the internet. Ecotourism in free visualization. et al. 2010). Moreover. Virginia. but demand son High School. In other cases. Communications infrastructure is critical to a nation’s cation programs with the country’s development priorities. indirectly. AMSAT is active today in cubesat 2009). An example of such has been proven to be a boon to agriculture in developed a project is the TJ3SAT and cubesat project developed countries. The main HUMSAT mercial implementation. and improved wildlife manage- as to the enthusiasm students have as members of a cubesat ment contributes to the sustainability of tourism. social networking.14 K. a pull and in terms of expertise. In poorer countries. Woellert et al.. but at significant cost. 2010). 2010). in geospatial information systems (GIS) enhance manage- publicizing accomplishments. An example of the implementation of this concept is agement. A be to develop indigenous satellite communications capac- push strategy is research and development that does not ity.1016/j. ecotourism.asr. mal or no telecommunication infrastructure for the pri- countries such as Tanzania export cash crops like coffee. cubesats potentially has direct economic benefits. and land management to agriculture ESA Symposium on Small Satellite Programmes for Sus- can mitigate starvation—whether in the literal or economic tainable Development (HUMSAT. for higher resolution has increased since accurate crop  Support participation in amateur radio activities. collaborative activities. This can be an expensive proposition both monetarily necessarily satisfy market demands. How this linkage is enabled. allows for the possibility of LEO communication constella- Remote sensing is an example of market pull that tions of modest capability and cost relative to larger satel- addresses the needs of agriculture. a proposed constellation of cubes- countries. Amateur radio provides for participation in provide significant cost advantages whether operated indig- space activities and experience with underlying technol. 20–30 m lateral resolution entirely by secondary school students of Thomas Jeffer. recognizing the need cooperative ground sensors and leveraging the existing to develop a capacity for agricultural science and its com. is enhanced if youth are encouraged earlier sense. 2009). K. land man. the increasing utility strategy is research and development in response to market of cubesats and the ability for multi-satellite deployment demands. and. Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT. they may cubesats. haul” to interface with external networks beyond their is discussed next. If cubesats tracking and communications redundancy support to prove to be effective remote sensing platforms. ment of current ecotourism destinations or identification ing. by bypassing wired infrastructure and investing in cellular neers is gainfully employed. high bandwidth costs (satellite or terres- trial) are considered by the UN to be a major obstacle for The literature on economic development often links current distance-learning initiatives in Africa. Cubesats project.org) demand for visit frequency to a given parcel has increased made history with the successful launch on December to every few days.009 . mass of 120 kg. An enabler for this capacity is remote sensing. doi:10. shar. and technology-proficient workforce is to link STEM edu. immediate national borders. The financial valuation requires higher resolution.10. Uganda. As men- 4. and collaborative developing nations such as Kenya. lites. 2010). gies that support current tourism markets or may support egies. Developing nations have addressed this need ensuring that each new generation of scientists and engi. an understanding of the relation of selected as a UN project during the 2nd UN/Austria/ weather. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. A possible technology capacity with innovation. agribusiness. ogies while having a relatively low cost for entry com. Several decades ago.com and search have successfully tracked AIS radio signals of wildlife on on keyword “cubesat”. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx the sciences. particularly for youth. USAID considers agricultural development a ats providing store-and-forward communications with critical engine of economic growth. land and could be applied by developing countries relying An effective strategy to develop a sustainable science. was adequate for estimating crop productivity. HUMSAT was either situation. The application of remote sensing for ecotourism using pared to actual cubesat development (AMSAT. one only needs to visit YouTube. Fairfax. networks. In contrast. include: ensuring hands-on new tourist destinations. Technology capacity and innovation tioned previously.

Building and launching a full-scale satellite aboard the cubesat differ greatly in purpose.html). K. for example. test. Initiating a full-scale research program on price or launch vehicle for cubesats. real-world experience in integration. This expertise is directly transferable usually single-purpose instrument platforms.13 They are less expensive time data management. There are many launch the ISS is likely beyond the resources or commitment level options including dedicated smaller launch vehicles. 2007). There are Space activities are very expensive and include a high offerings of private picosatellites as low as $8000 (see www. experimental science payloads. and other “piggyback” nology capacity.. There is consensus cally do not incur the same start-up costs as their predeces- that basic research is beneficial to agriculture (Evenson sors. Govern. sec- of countries with developing or emerging science-and-tech. Adv. As is typical of most innovations. community or because the marginal cost of a secondary 5. understanding of real. space.1016/j. launch) is approximately half that of large software algorithm development. included laboratory work to develop tify causal links between investment in science research and multiple bio-payload concepts.com/index. which can include purchasing and establishing various et al. Economics of cubesat technology 13 Most of these estimates are for US Government satellites. Aside from being among the most tions in rigorous terms.009 . is million/kg.. ondary payloads on larger vehicles. Experiments on the Space economies of scope are realized as different types of cubes- Shuttle recently revealed increased virulence of Salmonella ats are managed under the same leadership. The total cost of $4 million for NASA’s Gene- variety of science measurements. salmonella many cost factors. 1979. et al. engineers. NASA. and economic development. 1997). long lead-time or the large cost of traditional satellite research efforts. and the price charged for a small payload ments and institutions of poorer nations now have more may reflect a discount (either as goodwill to the research options to pursue science from. light in weight. with total costs critical to the successful operation of the satellite and man. and (3) econo- typhimurium grown in microgravity (Wilson et al. since there is no standardization for is a major cause of childhood death in third-world nations the functions of cubesats. platform with instruments for experimental science can 14 Although some 80 universities worldwide are pursuing cubesat cost $200 million and up.2).5 million (AstroBio Net. Space Res.000 to $2 million each. onstrate that non-traditional space actors can engage in However. lower overall costs of cubesats compared to larger satellites Both are NASA satellites and both are more complex than may allow countries to support both approaches in their GeneSat-1 and all of these are 3U systems. it is prema- Lab Pathfinder). Cubesats provide low-cost plat. to many job skill sets in the information technology (IT) cubesats are not as capable as their full-size counterparts. Several factors efforts to improve agricultural science. comparatively few cubesats in operation today (32 cubesats ment of a vaccine for salmonella (NASA. 2010 National on orbit as of May 2010)14 (Puig-Suari. and cubesats in particular. Studies consistently iden. For example. and hardware interfaces. forms for gaining practical. ditional satellites. 2010). Science capacity The space industry is still in the early stages of develop- ing cubesat technologies. and others who cannot afford either the and technology capacity-building strategies. sophistication..3. A general industry estimate for development only a relatively small number have reached orbit since building and fully testing space instruments is about $1 space access is an ongoing challenge (see Section 2. control-theory. Follow-on satellites typi- innovation. and software– because they are small. development. 2009. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. and integration capabilities. as for larger satellites. Woellert et al. Sat-1. and as Table 5 agement of the payload. Currently. 2010). below illustrates. and in. (2010). there is ample the first products cost much more per unit than their suc- demonstration that cubesats are viable platforms for a wide cessors. but comparisons are difficult since the instruments degree of risk. (2) experimental environment. doi:10. Cubesats are a relative bargain. market. 4. but they offer unusually interesting opportunities for scien- are but an element of a much broader portfolio of science tists. the total cost/kilogram (development. there is no salmonella vaccine ture to evaluate the economic supply and demand condi- available for human use. 2009). Of course. and “hitchhiker” possibilities. Still. Fernandez-Cornejo and Shumway. It is also premature to estimate common causes of food poisoning world-wide. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. (1–5 kg each). / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 15 Software in cubesat subsystems. universities. Space technologies. ranging from $200. and science using cubesats is that space offers an unique technicians improve their skills with new technology. are working together: (1) a learning curve effect reduces Another reason countries may consider conducting costs and development time as scientists.2010. nor is there a standard launch (Becker. even though the total cost of building and ground-breaking basic science with modest resources launching a cubesat payload is far cheaper than more tra- through the opportunities afforded by cubesats. J. and cost. mies of scale come into play as parts and equipment can be and similar results obtained under the NASA ISS National ordered in multiples when satellites can share components. as well as a reasonable question to ask is ‘Why support remote sens. but mission examples from Section 3 dem.asr. As discussed previously (see Section 3). Phar- ing using cubesats when limited resources can be applied to maSat has a cost of $3 million and the O/OREOS cubesat research in agricultural science?’ The answer is that the cost is $2.10.interor- bital. mission ground-support infrastructure. Laboratory Pathfinder missions for Salmonella enterica Since cubesat technology is relatively new and there are have initiated space experiments in support of the develop. K.

and b Costs for these NASA 3U cubesats include integration with the launch with those factors that scale with size and/or mass. These costs range investment can test research ideas that otherwise might from about $3. which are not radiation hardened. et al. there is the possibility secondary opportunities. CINEMA.000 per kilogram for the converted Soviet consume a large budget.2010. take many years. They vehicle. Woellert et al. opportunities through ride-shares. pushing With all of the above examples. satellite operator..1 kg) $590. $385. not the actual cost of building economic analysis would look at the cubesats in a business and launching the vehicles. if the demand for launching cessfully demonstrate the ability to deliver competitive cubesats increases beyond ballast-replacement and similar commercially valuable information. ing nation wishes to develop a cubesat that will provide Nonetheless. This These components include the education value to the indig- has created a marketplace of commercial component sup.16 K.000 per kilogram for the funding approvals because of the lower probability of the Pegasus (Orbital Sciences Corp. having a standardized form factor and nanosat specialized data source. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx Table 5 The second factor is that the altitude range of a cubesat Average costs for cubesats. If an emerging space-far- developed countries). geosynchro- per kilogram nous. It should also be noted that these are ally prove that their benefits outweigh their costs. enous scientists and engineers. QuakeSat. should the nation invest in requires orders of magnitude less design time than the the development of the cubesat. the national pride in owning pliers. Some govern. doi:10. analysis to avoid interfering with larger operating satellites. the economic advantages of cubesats rest with the a growing capability of microelectronics..000 overall system complexity and testing requirements. several important distinguishing and unique ele. where a small same as for any other launch payload. ments and companies may offer otherwise-unused capacity Remote sensing cubesats are interesting from an eco- on launch vehicles for less money. ultimately resulting Other considerations such as “cluttering” space with in more rapid science. launches may be less than the demand for them. If these or other cubesats suc- no revenue. comparatively short educational careers. with the speed with Costs for these NSF 3U cubesats do not include integration with launch vehicle. success than competing projects. a strict The first is standardization on a common form factor economic cost/benefit analysis would suggest not develop- and the accommodation for modularized internal compo. assuming that the cost of the commercial however. In the long run. which a cubesat can be designed. Cubesats are also the true cost/kilogram of putting cubesats into space is the ideal for high-risk/high-reward experiments. and ground operations. Libertad-1. and generates needs.000 ited power capability actually drive mission planners to O/OREOS (5. launch. This MAST.5 kg) $455.009 . FIREFLY. $510. This permits the use National Science RAX. where there are lower lev- Sponsor Satellites Average cost els of space radiation relative to the medium. Adv. consider- REPTile ably reducing subsystem costs. the security of having one’s own private and example. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. there are. that is typically below 1000 km. at least within any given country.000 of commercially available or even consumer electronic Foundationa FIREBIRD. ply purchase similar data from an existing commercial In the design and development of cubesats. J. Is the investment in the cubesat more advan- entists and engineers designing the cubesats is also no less tageous than using those funds in alternative uses? An expensive than other highly skilled space personnel (in example will clearly illustrate this.000 adopt “single-string” (non-redundant) designs that reduce Other cubesats XaTcobeo.000 Thus.asr. the unquantifiable components nents that provides inherent advantages like elimination of the decision might lead to the opposite conclusion.4 kg) $870. NRO. (2010). of redesign of the structural bus for every mission. and never get ICBM Dnepr vehicle to over $30. For a space asset. and in fact often do so in nomic perspective because remote sensing is a rapidly preference to flying ballast mass that is needed to balance growing commercial space application that. US). built.and technology-demonstration many small objects that would require sophisticated orbit projects. Space Res. DTU-1 (1U and 3U) often enables even further cost reductions. in some of its the spacecraft but serves no other purpose. case scenario. Rigorous prices charged to customers. cubesats must eventu- the price upward. and other high-altitude orbits. DICE. are highly beneficial to university research. and they enable graduate students to fly experiments in space during their payload on a launch vehicle with mass margin is very low).10. product to market to others and recoup some of the costs ment mechanism that has resulted in increased flight of the satellite. there is a degree of scaling of such design information about the use of land in that nation (through costs with the size of the instrument: a 5-kg cubesat remote sensing technologies).1016/j. NASAb GeneSat-1 (4. However. If it were less expensive to purchase the data. and launched. and ground operations. components. the supply of such discounted of a future economic market for their products. which has led to reduced development costs. or should the nation sim- Hubble Space Telescope. ing the cubesat. The labor component of the sci. data is less than developing one’s own system? ments that help to reduce the costs of their construction. is cubesat-compatible. Overall average $560. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions.000 The third factor is that the nanosat mass range and lim- PharmaSat (5. K. and the development of a potential mass range enabled the development of the P-POD deploy. launch.

1. All the above factors result in increased way of putting some scientific experiments and some other numbers of flight opportunities—as secondary payloads space capabilities into operation.1). data sharing of space- craft ephemeris. provided current and new space cubesat for payload return as provided in NASA’s Commercial actors continue to support standards. and other 6. Upon completion of cantly to the cubesat and P-POD standards. (2010). deployer.. To depart from these standards may marginalize launch.3.10. Contemporary issues the tolerances for formation flying and attitude control improve. but the benefits make it worth- to drive the price structures and operations of space launch while to find solutions to these challenges.009 . faster. The ability to deploy entire constellations based on 6. ans and new entrants. 2002). 90 and 320 km) and analyze re-entry effects (QB50. is a domi. and less expensive ble (Section 2. New actors that choose to enter the commu. space situational awareness radio astronomy such as the Allen Telescope Array (SSA). Future perspectives cubesats has potential applications in the sciences and remote sensing. deployed as co-orbiters with the ISS.1016/j. there are The challenges for such methods applied on orbit are signs traditional microeconomic dynamics are beginning numerous and substantial. doi:10. and standardization. Most launch providers have incorporated or Cubesats launched on ISS servicing missions could be plan to accommodate secondary payloads. A there are many cubesats simultaneously in low-Earth standardized form factor and mass range made the orbits. Woellert et al. Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) down-mass pro- SSA in the context of space debris is an issue previously cess. (ATA). Space Res. et al. launch-ser- become a standard for space exploration. Convention on Registration. 2001. 2010). will remain comfort with the cubesat specification and the P-POD unanswered until this capability matures and design. turn adds pressure on SSA for all space actors with assets increased utility will have to come from innovative config- in LEO. payloads and samples from the space environment without nity of space-capable countries through the opportunities the need for developing capsule return systems on cubesats. or develop into vice providers have developed a level of familiarity and an interesting and very useful niche market. Hence.2010. Adv. Extending the miniaturization strategy to the to the UN space object registration convention (UN nanoscale may even impact this process. owing signifi. Technology and innovation similar operational goals. International collaboration confidence-building measures are all topics current space actors are contemplating to ensure the global commons Cubesats offer countries with burgeoning or maturing of space remains sustainable. Adherence hardware. and more consolidated mar- meeting safety and spectrum-usage limitations will also kets for commercial component suppliers are created. the economic and policy and through ride sharing. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. recognizing potential liability issues. The cubesats would be managed akin to free-flyers mentioned. and for each mission is eliminated. As discussed previously.asr. specifically increasing the number and tiative that will deploy over fifty cubesats to conduct frequency of secondary payload opportunities. hard-fought gains the small satellite community has The long-term cost functions will then enable users of achieved for space access. the cubesat could be tele-robotically retrieved should continue. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx 17 and insuring de-orbiting of the cubesat when their missions Standardization to a common form factor and adoption are over must also be evaluated. new actors must also commit to engage urations and continued reliance on miniaturization of with the space community on addressing SSA. Yang Zhen Ruliang. both cubesat veter. particularly in the sun-synchronous belt which in unchanged for the medium time horizon (5–10 years). P-POD and related standard deployment mechanisms via- While cubesats offer a new. 1976). adhering to of modularized internal components contributes to the legal and regulatory requirements such as registering them general success of cubesats: redesign of the structural bus as space objects. QB50 is a proposed international cooperative ini- Access to space. providers. As the payload capabilities improve and 6. J. in situ measurements of the lower thermosphere (between nant issue for all cubesat space actors. particularly when of which reduce development times and lower costs. K. This trend the mission. There is into the community of space-technology-savvy countries precedent for interferometric methods in terrestrial-based are lack of flight opportunities. Technological solutions and procedures that as envisioned for the ISS. This operational mode would responsibly de-orbit end-of-life cubesats address only part provide opportunities for return of products processed by of the issue. Following standardization of questions that will determine whether cubesat technologies launch interfaces and deployment procedures. supporting “rules of the road”. cubesats to accurately compare this choice of getting to space with other methods of accomplishing the same or 6. and ground-support systems are standardized. K. both impact economic and policy decisions. it may be feasible to apply interferometric meth- Some of the most pressing issues that impact current ods in place of reliance on monolithic platforms (Martin cubesat stakeholders and entry of non-traditional actors and Kilberg. space technology programs multiple opportunities to Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. provided by cubesats increase the population of satellites Assuming the cubesat standard remains largely in LEO. In addition.2.

. and the University of Mexico is collaborating cooperation might be scientific data sharing in exchange with a number of Russian institutions to develop UNAM- for rideshare opportunities. K. 2010). The 3U cubesat will have three the 47. and a 3U cubesat led by the nology starting with its SATEX small satellite program. A univer. 2010). 6. and the Sergio Arboleda University of Colombia With its remote sensing payload. rebroadcast messages from amateur radio operators. to guarantee launch access and worldwide ground opera. Now in the late stages of development. 3-axis stabilization. the goal of the Chasqui- are pursuing cooperative projects. 2010. doi:10. America. Still education-and-training project to develop space technology functional. In addition. Cubesats: Cost-effective science and technology platforms for emerging and developing na- tions. in July nations with developing economies is not just a future 2010. Woellert et al. The Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia is working 2010). and YouTube (UNI. first picosatellite. J. 2009). the Pontificia Universidad Catolica of development by the Universidad Nacional de Ingenierı́a. Space and Beyond Digest. a staple provider of space access opportunities for cubesats through its PSLV rockets. the 1U NanosatC-BR. One model for Vilan.2010. Hindi. a 10-kg nanosatellite that will attempt space-based vehicle for technical exchange and multi-lateral coopera. with a significant list of Indian academic institutions. 2006).5-kg SATEX-1 will test atmospheric attenuation of payloads including a camera. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. SAT cubesat. the satellites SunSat (launch: 1999) (SunSpace. as well as its tion mission with a mission lifetime of about one month contribution of a small satellite bus to the India/Brazil (Libertad-1. Colombia’s first space mission (see Section 3). (Berri and Ruchita. tion of 90 m for Earth imaging (STUDsat. including Twitter. 2002). STUDsat’s primary mission activities already under way.. Cape Peninsula University of Technology. a cubesat in Mexico. an example of which 1 project is to enhance Peruvian space technology capacity is a dedicated cubesat Earth station with a 21-m antenna. (TRIY. and con (Pacheco et al. ERPSat- ment of its first cubesat. Pehuensat-1’s educational mission is to enable capacity (ICUBE-1. use a magnetometer to study the geomagnetic field in the inter-satellite communication. et al. Brazil has embarked on develop. (2010). operating now for nearly GSN-WG. Goliat primary mission is education and workforce devel- tions coverage will secure a sustainable cubesat program opment but also has science payloads including a microm- with many players. Argentina launched the 6-kg Pehuensat-1 in ICUBE-1 from the Institute of Space Technology is an 2007 into a 640-km polar orbit (Pehuensat. / Advances in Space Research xxx (2010) xxx–xxx collaborate with international partners. 2010). and remote sensing using a region of the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly and the low-resolution CMOS camera (Neji et al. Sharing will join the family of space faring nations with the launch data from cubesat experiments and working in a joint effort of the cubesat Goliat on the European VEGA launcher. 2010).4. experience. and Libertad-1 cubesat. South equatorial electrojet over northern Brazil (Savian et al. The Chasqui-1 team includes faculty and student cooperatively with other participating institutions of collaborators from the US and Taiwan and it utilizes social TRIY to develop the TRIY-Sat cubesat to demonstrate networking tools for public outreach. 2010). Cubesat programs can be a SAT-3.. 2010). it is an emerging reality. Activity in Eastern and Southern Europe includes Another option that is especially suited for academic Croatia’s upcoming launch of its first satellite. a key requirement for remote sensing Facebook. barriers to entry are a year. it includes a camera with stated lateral resolu- described here. Adoption of nanosatellite and cubesat technology by launched its first indigenous picosatellite. and encourage international collaboration (Chasqui-1. An example that has taken root in South and Central (Pulinets et al. SumbandilaSat (launch: 2009) (CSIR. Turkey has successfully launched its first native in international networks such as GENSO or UNISEC satellite. TRIY. Chasqui-I. of tracking and downlink/uplink services or become a node 2010). ENIS REGIM pico satellite 1.10.. African Technical Institute. the ITUpSAT 1 cubesat. Small Satellite activities in developing nations In South Asia. Developed exclusively by undergraduates from seven vision. French South initiated in 1984. 2009). students to broadcast messages in Spanish. Space Res. Peru aspires to its first satellite. Romania laborative relationships gained can be invaluable.009 . 2010). is an entry-level technology familiariza. with a primary mission of education and aerospace very low but the return on education.. 2010). and Activity in Africa includes Tunisia’s development of its English (AATE. earthquake prediction by studying ionospheric precursors tion. eteroid detector and sophisticated Earth imaging camera (ROSA.1016/j. the CROP- institutions is to provide ground station services. One of Multiple nations are active in small satellites in Latin at least two cubesats under development in Pakistan. 2009). a number of which are is education. which will 1 has three basic missions: ground station communication. and col. As discussed previously. South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA) Satellite Programme Mexico has steadily developed capacity in satellite tech. technology development (ITUpSAT 1. 2008). America is the Robotics Institute of Yucatán (TRIY). STUDsat. to conduct upper atmospheric research and sity department can either become an independent provider for space technology capacity building (CROPSAT. 2010). a consortium of a high-frequency beacon to assist the Hermanus Magnetic Mexican universities is participating in the UN HUMSAT Observatory in the calibration of its radars in the Antarctic project through development of SATEX-2 (Aguado and (F’SATI.asr. Adv. a repeater/transponder to optical uplinks using a ground-based cooperative laser bea. Africa is following the successful development of the small 2009).18 K. 2010). 2010). India. Peru.

Science and Transportation. in: European Planetary Science Congress. We addressed future perspectives and the role laboratory and in lower Earth orbit experiments.asr. in: 6th Cubesat Developers Workshop. California. Cottin. Pierson.. 2007. W..pdf>. K. 2008. 2010. University of Hawaii.. Please cite this article in press as: Woellert. Adv..017. C. The ORGANICS experiments on BIOPAN V: UV and ple space flights. Potsdam. The applications of a software defined radio in Kramer.. H. 2009.1080/09700160802309175. A. D. Palmer.. est technology to fly instruments that truly are “state of the Flagg. A.. I. S. 2006. S. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 79 spill-over effects. Anderson. Fiorasi.. F. Clarke.N. Williams.1016/ Congress. Ruiterkamp. et al. Colla. 2009..AM/Presentation_ Klaus. Emerging Infectious Diseases 9. The Brite Space Telescope: using a nanosatellite constellation to measure stellar variability in the most luminous stars. systems. de-orbit sys. DeMartini. 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