Square Inch To Space

Send your own hardware to space

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In 2013, I build a small satellite which was set into orbit.
It had the PocketQub 1U form factor which allowed the launch price to be reduced to about 20000$.

Sending hardware to space is still expensive - especially for individuals, and the regulations are very strict.

I want to make it easy with this project by making it possible to send your own hardware to space for about 1000$.

This will be only possible by sharing the launch costs with at least 20 individuals - which will fly their own hardware on board of a PocketQub satellite.

Your hardware can be basically a PCB with the size of around one square inch and a height of max. 5-7 mm (depends on the final PQ design)

What you put on it is your free choice. The satellite bus will provide 3.3V and an UART.

Due to radio regulations the satellite must be relevant to the amateur radio community, so I decided to send the data via SSTV (slow scan television).

Each hardware module can draw its own image in RGB.

The previous option was to provide small PCB satellites which are programmable in BASIC.
This didn´t give a good feedback from the community.
But I received several questions regarding using your own hardware - which of course is the more exciting option.

This seemed impossible as the coordination of so many participants - including flight qualification testing etc. would be too hard to accomplish.

But I came up with a plan to make it possible anyway - the only thing is that your hardware can´t be deployed independently - it must stay within the satellite.

The good thing: You will be safe in a satellite bus, provided with 3.3V and radio - you don´t need to care about regulations and paperwork. You also don´t need to care about other modules. You will have an UART interface and can send your data down to earth easily.

Are you familiar with SSTV? It´s a way to send a color picture via a low bandwidth radio within less than two minutes.

My plan is to give every participant a dedicated area in that picture to write your data in. It can be either a graphics or a written text.
You are free to write on the canvas - and receive it e.g. via an RTL-SDR with your laptop and a 10$ antenna.

The orbit would be probably a polar orbit which would allow you to receive the signal anywhere on earth 1-2 times a day.

Communicating with other modules would be also interesting - for example using inertial data from another module or getting a camera picture for analysis or using a "reaction wheel" for turning the satellite around and and and...

Your own hardware will get a small window in the satellite outer shell to the endless space making it possible to use optical and other kind of sensors.

There will be also a simulator so you can start developing. All you need is to connect an UART to the PC. The simulator wil behave like the carrier satellite.

  • Module layout proposal

    Paul Kocyla02/11/2016 at 14:36 6 comments

    Proposal for the module board:

    Modules are arranged in a 2x2x5 matrix = 20 modules in a single PocketQub
    Eight long pinheads go up through the five modules of each quadrant.
    Here is a picture of the proposed pinheader,
    Five pins are unique UARTs (halfduplex) for each of the five modules in one column, additionally a +3V3 and a GND pin.
    I planned a unique power latching for each module, but this would require additional five pins. Instead, there might be a latching for each column, and to prevent other modules of this column to be shorted by another module, I´d suggest to use a polyfuse on each module mandatory.

    Let me know if you got a better idea to arrange/connect the modules which saves more space.

    NOTE: I don´t want a bus system, because I want to avoid unnessecery coordination between the modules´ owners and avoid a bus failure if one module shorts the bus.

  • Own Hardware in space

    Paul Kocyla02/07/2016 at 12:37 0 comments

    A motivation check:

    I though about enabling people to put their OWN hardware into a pocketqub. To get a good launch price, the hardware would need to stay inside the pocketqub -but could last for several years in space.
    There would fit 20-24 modules inside about a square inch each. It would be possible to provide openings in the outer shell for optical/radiation or other sensors for each module.
    I would provide a standard UART to each module. The data would be sent via SSTV picture. Each module would get a dedicated area in that picture.
    Tell me what you think about that?
    With 20 modules inside, the launch cost would be around 1000$ per person.
    I would take care of the carrier module, the power system including solar cells, charging overcurrent/short circuit protection, the radio system/antenna deployment, the UART router, in-orbit stabilization, all the flight approval tests and the paper war etc.
    There would be a PCB template with a pinheader for the connections and a simulator for easy development.
    Like mentioned, the Interface would be a standard UART. Maybe a possibility to share data with other modules would be cool.
    I will make the pocketqub ready for launch if there are enough people (at least 20) to build their own module and share the launch costs.

  • SSTV working

    Paul Kocyla04/07/2015 at 18:24 0 comments

    First SSTV picture from the chipstar. Resolution is 40px*30px.
    It´s sent in standard BW8 format. Only 30 lines are sent - one line contains 120 pixels representing 40 blue/green/red pixels each.
    Now I am working on a converter to melt them together into a RGB image.
    Transmission time is two seconds on a standard audio line.

    It´s funny: Just holding the handheld radio in front of the PC microphone is enough to receive that picture within 2 seconds

  • Reaction Wheel

    Paul Kocyla03/31/2015 at 20:36 1 comment

    A big change occured in the new board: Instead of three coils there will be one permanent magnet to align the satellite to the earth´s magnetic field.

    This will have the advantage of detumbling and stabililzing the satellite.

    The remaining axis can be controlled by a reaction wheel (mounted on the right side).

    It´s basically a small motor which changes the rotation around the mounted axis. This axis is perpendicular to the two others magnetically stabilized axes, so you can change the camera´s perpective instantly while maintaining attitude stability.

    Board is going in production asap.

  • Board design with RGB camera

    Paul Kocyla03/30/2015 at 17:36 0 comments

    The board design is finished. The board is shorter so it can be deployer from a 1U PocketQube.

    A new high temperature supercap will be mounted on the bottom side.

    Here are two options how the deployment mechanism could work.

  • Imager update

    Paul Kocyla03/25/2015 at 20:50 0 comments

    Played around with the lowres imager IC - too slow for a reasonable use.

    I will change it to a 640x480 camera. The problem of this cam is the availabilty. I ordered some stock and will stock up for the future use, at least to have enough for the devkits and the launch.

    The good news: This camera is already part of the TRSI-Sat, so the TRSI.-Sat will melt into the CHIPSTAR. The code is already working, so the change will be a quite easy task - there will be just some delay.

  • Imager ICs arrived

    Paul Kocyla03/24/2015 at 10:11 0 comments

    ...finally :)

  • Project Fusion

    Paul Kocyla03/17/2015 at 20:29 0 comments

    Maintaining two project for the same launch was not efficient :)

    I deleted the TRSI Deployer satellite as it will be a part of the CHIPSTAR project.

    There were also not many news in the last weeks. The reason is that I am waiting for the imager ICs from China. They aren´t available in Europe at this time.

  • Entered the Hackaday Prize

    Paul Kocyla03/15/2015 at 02:20 0 comments

    I submitted the project for the Hackaday Prize 2015.

    But what exactly can a tiny satellite do for the community?

    The CHIPSTAR is a platform - what it´s used for is up to you - you can program it and come up with a concept that may be beneficial for all of us.

    Here is one idea:

    Free communication network: 4 billion people in the world are offline. A satellite network could be a great solution to provide free worldwide communication. Use the CHIPSTAR to develop communication protocols, stationkeeping, intercommunication, routing etc.

    Another point is the accesibility of space launches to a wide range of enthusiasts:

    The costs for a cubesat launch are about 100.000$, a PocketQub reduces them to 30.000$.
    We are trying tu push them down to 1500$ - for one CHIPSTAR, and of course we hope for fundings to make a first launch possible.

  • Milling the Deployer

    Paul Kocyla03/08/2015 at 15:53 0 comments

    JO HINCHLIFFE (Concretedog) was working on the deployer test rig.

    --- quote JO HINCHLIFFE ---

    Been working today on a test rig to help determine the rail sizes that will hold the chipstars and that the chipstars will be pushed out of in the deployer. So it started by milling two 2mm wide slots into two pieces of aluminium at the two different depths I was testing, namely 1mm depth and 1.5mm (+-0.02). I then drilled and countersunk the matched pair of railplates and then, using some A+ inspection slip gauges to vary the height and some clamps to keep parallel, test different distances between the plates.

    It seems that either depth holds the PCB securely (note this isn't a chipstar PCB just a PCB I had left from another project) and if parallel a gap/tolerance of 0.3mm gives a free slide yet still has plenty of rail wall holding the PC at any given point.

    --- /quote ---

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Enjoy this project?



fabian wrote 07/21/2018 at 19:04 point

it will be compatibile with outernet?

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ActualDragon wrote 03/28/2018 at 17:10 point

is this still a thing?

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Frode Lillerud wrote 08/06/2016 at 09:00 point

Very interresting project! I've read through the logs and discussions, but it's not exactly clear to me the full scope of the project. I understand that there is supposed to be 20 pcs of 1" x 1" x 1" square cubes launched together. Then there is some sort of deployment hardware in addition to these. Could you describe that part some more?

Will the small cubes remain together all the time, or do they separate as well?

And then there is the Chipstar circuitboard. That is a attempt at making a standard electronics platform for each of the cubes, right? And it needs to be programmed using Basic?

You also mention that it might be possible to create custom electronics, but would require testing of outgassing etc. Any idea of what the cost of such testing is?

For me the most interresting part would be the electronics design. It would be fun to create a PCB with this formfactor and have it deployed.

I'm a software developer with backgrounds in electronics, and with a bachelor in space technology. I was a testengineer on INMARSAT 4, but have been in normal IT sector since then. Looking for a fun project to get involved in :)

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Paul Kocyla wrote 08/07/2016 at 08:21 point

The square inch to space project contains small PCBs which will not deploy. The problem is, that the paperwork has to be done for every deployed part. Parts of this size cannot be tracked in space so they would not pass the tests - unless they are shot into a very low orbit where their lifetime is only about 1 month.
The corresponding PocketQub will contain all the custom PCBs, so every participant has to create an own PCB. The only constraints are dimension, bus connector and power consumption. The PCBs must be cleaned of flux and conformal coated against outgassing.
The Chipstar was another attempt,  but as it would be more expensive, there were not many participants interested in that.

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Frode Lillerud wrote 08/07/2016 at 08:40 point

I really like the idea of having my hardware in space, so it would be fun to get involved. I don't have a specific research project in mind, but I like the idea of having my PCB cooperate with the other modules.

Perhaps I could make an IMU or similar which would be accessible for the other participants to query?

Are there any other active participants?

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Dylan Bleier wrote 05/05/2015 at 18:20 point

Do these have any shielding to protect from high energy radiation?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 05/06/2015 at 07:34 point

The supercap on the bottom side will offer some protection against the radiation.
It looks like the radar cross section has to be increased also - after a talk with launch providers they named this issue.
I´ll try to make a corner reflector surface which will be put on the top layer. This should provide enough shielding to keep the µC running safely.
Radiation is not a so big issue in small satellites.
During periods of high radiation, controllers can perform a reset (crash -> watchdog trigger -> reset), but memory fails due to proton impacts aren´t happening that often.

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Dylan Bleier wrote 05/05/2015 at 00:08 point

wait..... you mean you can use the earth's tiny magnetic field to align this thing?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 05/05/2015 at 08:41 point

This is a common method, even for the 3kg satellites. It may take a few minutes, but this tiny field is enough.
It´s like moving a compass needle.

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Dylan Bleier wrote 05/05/2015 at 11:30 point

wow.  and that antenna is big enough to act a transciever?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 05/05/2015 at 11:41 point

It depends on the ground station.
A SatNogs-like ground station should be able to get CW signals with slow OOK (eg morse). CW has a very small bandwidth, so it is easy to detect.

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Dylan Bleier wrote 04/24/2015 at 17:36 point

won't electrolytic caps freeze in space?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 04/24/2015 at 18:30 point

The mean temperature should stay within the supercap´s specification. However, excessive testing will be necessery.
Li-Ion batteries are usually no problem at all. The inside temperatures inside of small satellites are usually positive.

I´ll use high temperature supercaps which have a much wider temperature spectrum than Li-Ion batteries, so it should work ok.

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Dimitar Tomov wrote 03/15/2015 at 23:32 point

Guys I'm really happy, even joyful of your IdeaS, DesignS and Efforts, spending time, investing time, resources and so many things that I doubt I can think of or if I do - how much it will take me to mention them + motivating other people, provoking other people to be active, to not give up on dreams EVEN as SUCH -> Satellites, etc.

So for that - a BIG Bravo from me !

But although You are concentrated and I think now experienced on the part of the ECU***, you decided to outsource (in a good way, a practical approach, effective, settle, cost-wise , etc. - I see it 100%) the launch part to someone or something else. Which is an essential one. I again will say - it's 100% OK , it's understandable, logical and so on - I'm serious, it's not just to keep you calm :D But I think it's time for you to include the launch part :D

For at least ~6months now I'm, well the word is; slowly clearing my concept for a PICO/NANO-Satellite ,including the Launch part of the task :) "Of the mission :P" And 100% 'Yes', it's more ... an Idea for now than an actual concept or design, but that's the start. I actually have not come across the summary page of Satellite-related projects on Hackaday, I just did and decided to wrote to you as you will be soon merging w/ another project becoming even vast 2in1 = 1whole project :)

And regarding A LAUNCH (amateur one by definition, but not by execution :D & acording regulations of course - international and domestic by launch origin of country/region) you can add a grate value/help to anyone who will want to try to design, to make that happen one day - BY: Sharing more of your knowledge on Tests, Precautions AND to share your thoughts out loud w/ everyone about Structure (hull) Integrity of a Nano/Pico Satellite, because during Your launches you use Satellites already being prepared for deployment, i.e the packing of the satellite you are "launching" w/ the launch rocket is actually carried out by someone qualified as professionalism from 0 to 100% :)

I hope You see only positive talk from my post , because it's what I wrote :) But of course I can sound sometimes too direct or even rude/offensive so I had to mention it XD

ECU*** - Well it's a term used in automotive industry mostly, but it's literally the heart of any system - electronic control unit ( mcu / soc / fpga are electronics after all :) ) 

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Paul Kocyla wrote 03/16/2015 at 07:05 point

This would be a great achievement to build an orbital launch vehicle - unfortunately it would be far more expensive to send a few gramms into orbit by an amateur rocket (not mentioned that no amateur rocket has ever reached orbit, not even close) than it is by sending it piggyback on another payload.

This doesn´t mean that I don´t support amateur rocketry. I would be extremely flashed and happy if someone would build one. This would be an ingeniuos task. But according to cost effectiveness, I think that external launch vehicles willl be the most affordable for many more years.

I remember that I read some calculation for the minimal orbital rocket - and it would be still quite big and expensive. We´ll stick to the piggyback solution for now, hoping for an amateur rocket to reach orbit :)

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Dimitar Tomov wrote 03/16/2015 at 22:19 point

I look more toward UAV & Aerospace sub-orbit / dual-usage vehicles :-) But I hear you loud & clear - what you say is 100% true & I'm aware of the reality, but also the fact remains that I think whatever the physical, cost , etc. restrictions are now in place , they are faaaaar more less than they were not just last 10 years, but last year overall. It is time to look that way UP & do something about it ! Even if it is only to try 1000th times and to fail every time of those 1000th :D Smiling absolutely too much than I do naturally but ... I'm serious ;) Thanks for the response & GL with those satellites :-)

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PointyOintment wrote 03/10/2015 at 18:40 point

For reference/comparison, what's the mass of one of these satellites?

And where are the coils? I don't see them in the photos.

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Paul Kocyla wrote 03/10/2015 at 19:28 point

The mass is < 10 gramms. The coils are standard SMD wirewound/multilayer unshielded coils 0603 footprint, they should be enough to generate the required torque.

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PointyOintment wrote 03/13/2015 at 03:51 point

Ah, so it's the right size for the N-Prize! :)

I'd be interested to know how much torque you get and how much power is consumed in practice. Wikipedia's magnetorquer article (which was surprisingly hard to find) says they don't generate much torque, but I guess you don't need much at all with such a small satellite.

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Paul Kocyla wrote 03/13/2015 at 07:17 point

According to papers, with a micronewton force, it´s possible to obtain stationkeeping with a picosatellite in about a minute. I will make further practical tests with the chipsats, but I assume that the torque will be ok - I´ll take some time to make a calculation based on the coils datasheets first.

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Dimitar Tomov wrote 03/21/2015 at 09:09 point

@movax Thanks MAN for that link ! And guess how hard was for me AND actually I did not manage to find it ;( I always thought there was such or close relatively princeple used in Orbit , especially for "objects" that are in Earth's Orbit ! Thanks AGAIN ! A LOT !!

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esot.eric wrote 03/21/2015 at 08:38 point

Wow. This seems... incredible! 0603, as in... the SMD size?! That's all it takes, with a coil (and presumably the earth's magnetic field?) to change/maintain the orbit of something this size?! Sheesh!

@Dimitar Tomov mentioned launching... which reminds me of something I heard once in school, completely unverified... but the amount of energy used by a 60W incandescent lightbulb is allegedly enough to launch that same lightbulb into orbit.

Did always think that rockets seemed a bit... crude... for launching things into orbit. There must be another method.

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esot.eric wrote 03/21/2015 at 08:43 point

Thanks, @PointyOintment for the wikipedia link... learn something new every day!

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Dimitar Tomov wrote 03/21/2015 at 09:07 point

@esot.eric.wazhung +1 that's what i meant about launchig capabilities -  Nuclear Power Plants are juts different Steam Machines for "God's sake" :|

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esot.eric wrote 03/21/2015 at 10:12 point

Yeah, I dunno what'd be better... but it seems like something as simple as helicopters are better at initial lift-power... Rockets have always seemed, to me

(having never done any related math), like they're like trying to accelerate a car up-hill from stop in 5th gear... Seems like the only reason the "engine" doesn't stall is 'cause it's not actually physically/frictionally-attached to anything... It starts by "spinning-out" until the "car" eventually catches up with the "tires" (does it ever, in the case of a vertical launch?). Seems like launching something of this scale could be accomplished with some combination of a weather-balloon, a potato-gun, and a last-stage of something like a large hobby-rocket.

(Sorry @movax, this is obviously a bit off-topic).

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Dimitar Tomov wrote 03/21/2015 at 10:27 point

Rockets launch in an control environment where they need to be "pushed up" enough so they can safely launch AND HAVE TIME FOR THE SEQUENCE to actually start boosting real torque and start accel. up (i explain it very freely, but as I'm no rocket scientist I prefer not to try to be something I am not). So you have:

"push" over hatch/silo/... & "ignition" ~~~simultaneously~~~
"1st actual boosting/burning phase"

"2nd.." and so on

And actually the Control over the rocket AT THE VERY FIRST MOMENTS IS NONE ! Because You have no actual trust that can do a thing if the rocket FOR SOME reason does not start/ignite properly or tilt (which is absurd for nowadays tech, but still a possibility).

So Heli looks odd, but I got what you wanted to say, and still I believe those Earth-Space Planes are more a right direction, because I guess you don't want boosted flight up you want climbing up to a point where it will be better to launch - like (very rough example) a gigantic quad-copter :D I get it , and I also have similar ideq, but regarding something more close to an airplane that to a Heli. @esot.eric.wazhung - yes we are offtopic, but replying on post, and not replying generally to the project so I think (hope :D) @movax is (will) be OK with that offtopic (75% off :P) talk.

It's always fun to have a talk/chit-chat on Hackaday :) Always learning something new or finding people you can relate , find a common word with = )

Have a Great Weekend, I'm off cause outside ( in BG ) today is just 'soooo sunny' XD

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SopaXorzTaker wrote 02/28/2015 at 19:46 point

On the board there can be seen a black device with blurred markings. What is it?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 02/28/2015 at 19:50 point

That´s the antenna. I blurred it so the brand mark doesn´t dominate the picture. It´s from Linx. I met the guys two days ago by accident - they visited the company I´m working for :)

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SopaXorzTaker wrote 02/28/2015 at 19:54 point

Ah, for no advertising? :)

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Paul Kocyla wrote 02/28/2015 at 20:47 point

I have no problem with advertising - as long as the project gets sponsored :-D
I´ll talk to the marketing department...

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Austin Marandos wrote 02/16/2015 at 21:55 point

Are the coils for attitude constantly on, or does the satellite just spin in orbit picking up quick instances of sunlight? 

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Paul Kocyla wrote 02/16/2015 at 22:02 point

The coils are controlled by the User´s BASIC program.
If nothing is done (coils off), then the charging will occur "pulse-wised" during the rotation of the chipstar. But the probability of a what I call "dark lock" is very low. The tumbling will be high enough to give the solar cell enough sunlight to fire up the system regularly. The better the User´s attitude control, the better the bhaviour of the sat.

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Austin Marandos wrote 02/17/2015 at 03:03 point

Ok thanks for the explanation sounds great, would love to make a similar project 

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Michael Burris wrote 02/13/2015 at 20:39 point

Project seems solid not sure if i would be able to get in into space but what about distances? Just a Quick question on that.

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Paul Kocyla wrote 02/13/2015 at 21:23 point

We already have a satellite in orbit - so we are sure we can get this one in space too. Actually we are in talk with launch providers to find the best solution for the launch.
With "distances" you mean the orbital height? It will be below 400km to avoid space debris. The best choice actually is the ISS:
We already have some offers. but please excuse that we don´t give this information away at thiis time, because we are still trying to find the best option.

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Brett Smith wrote 02/01/2015 at 12:53 point

Will the CHIPSAT have solar panels?
Or is there enough internal energy to power chipsat for the duration of its orbit?

Are these specifications available? If so, where can we find them?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 02/01/2015 at 15:32 point

There is a small solar panel which charges up two supercaps.

After charging, the chipstar can run for several seconds,. The TX duration will be about 2 seconds per charge.

Depending on the position/rotation towards the sun I expect a charge duration of 20 seconds. So it´s in pulsed operation.

The technical specs are not ready yet. I am waiting for the next PCB revision which will be ready in about 2 weeks, then I´ll prepare a technical datasheet.

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DL101 wrote 01/25/2015 at 13:09 point

How does somebody get involved in such a project in the first place?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 13:34 point

In my case, i joined a cubesat project at the university.

After the PoecketQubs showed up, i build one and sent it into orbit together with a small group. It was the pocketqub satellite WREN

I think there are many cubesat projects, mainly at universities, where you can get involved in.

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DL101 wrote 01/25/2015 at 13:47 point

Nice! Unfortunately my university (or any other in the vicinity) doesne't have such a project.
Are there any true scientific experiments that can be done on such simple satelites?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 13:57 point

The chipsats main purpose would be either educational or swarm-satellite research. For example to realize a radio network.

In cubesats, you can even perform biological experiments, there´s plenty of room for a payload.

If this project is successful, we could offer the deployer for your own projects.

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Brett Smith wrote 01/25/2015 at 11:37 point

Will it be possible to put on your own hardware (i.e. motion tracking via accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer)?

If somebody designed they're own PCB with the same weight and form factor of the chipstar would it be possible to get it launched with the rest?

Regardless, I am still very interested.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 11:46 point

Unfortunately, we can provide the chipstar only as is. The problem is, that we need to go through the flight qualification process. With external manufactured hardware we would have to make the process for every customized board: outgassing, vacuum thermal, shaker, space debris analysis, frequency coordination (with responsible HAM) and international coordination at the ITU. This all costs muchtime and money.

Anyway, if you can provide the flight qualification we can talk about the price - but i can tell directly that it will be more expensive than the standard chipstar and that we can´t provide any guarantees in that case.

For information. The actual hardware on the chipstar contains a magnetometer (which can be used for rotation measurements too), an RGB light sensor and three coils for rotation/attitude control.

What we CAN do: If you are a HAM operator you can apply for a frequency coordination at the IARU and ITU to get your own frequency (we´ll provide you the necessary transceiver specs) When you got the papers, we will change your chipstar to that frequency then.

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DL101 wrote 01/25/2015 at 10:01 point

What components are you using for this project? Are they milspec? radhard? Or just plain consumer components?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 10:06 point

They are just consumer components. I check the datasheets for appropriate temperature ratings and leave a good safety margin.

For one month of operation the risk of a unit fail is not very big - most microcontrollers and other parts will not suffer from the space conditions.

Flash memory fails after a proton hit don´t happen that often and the passive parts won´t get damaged so easily.

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hyperzap wrote 01/25/2015 at 10:35 point

How are you dealing with solar radiation? do you have shielding or 3 independent processors in consensus arrangement?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 10:54 point

The chipstars have only one processor. The lifetime of chipsats in LEO will be only a few weeks. I don´t expect many fails.

Different case is the deployer: It will have three independent systems. Two microprocessors and one discrete timer. All will be shielded within the cubesat chassis.

The deployment mechanism will consist of nichrome wire cutters and a mechanical motor driven release shaft as a backup.

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DL101 wrote 01/25/2015 at 11:05 point

So they are going to operate for only few months?
Did you consider adding coils in three axis so that the satellite can be rotated with earths magnetic field? I saw some other microsatellites had that.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 11:20 point

They will operate only for a few weeks. The reason is that many tiny satellites would be a threat to other spacecrafts when put into a higher orbit, so the mission duration is limited by international regulations.

According the coils: YES, the chipsats have coils in all three directions, accessible by BASIC-commands (see the PDF in the link section)

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DL101 wrote 01/25/2015 at 11:48 point

What about the radio link?

How big the ground station will need to be to communicate with such a tiny satelite?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 11:54 point

Despite the small form factor the signal is not that weak.

A standard crossed yagi with LNA will do the job.

After the final board is ready I´ll ask for a detailed TX pattern analysis at the universtiy, then I´ll be able to give you more information.

The transmitter on board generates 100mW of power - but as we use a chip antenna only a small part of it will be transmitted. Anyway, in CW or Hellschreiber modes it should be no problem to receive it with standard equipment. Infos will follow...

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DL101 wrote 01/25/2015 at 12:07 point

In the pictures there are two boards. Are they the same thing but just a different version? Is the longer one the latest version?

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Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 12:26 point

The long one is the chipstar board, the square shaped is the development-kit. It´s got the same hardware plus an USB programmer and plastic enclosure.

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Brett Smith wrote 01/25/2015 at 06:33 point

I think this project would be an awesome opportunity to get some first hand experience in aerospace engineering!
I know its early still, but what do you think the kickstarter contribution will be?
What do you think the timeline is for this project???

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Paul Kocyla wrote 01/25/2015 at 09:28 point

We hope to get at least 50 chipsats into a 1U-Cubesat.
If we get additional educational funding then the Chipstars will be will be somewhere in the 200$ range. But that´s an optimistic guess.

The devkits will be available for less - just to cover the material and development costs - maybe around 50$ to 100$, i can´t say for now.
Assuming for no additional funding - the launch costs of approximately 50000$ have to be divided by the number of chipstars.
Of course we will give our best to make the chipstars affordable.

According the timeline:

The chipsat is almost finished, the devkit too, so in about a month, the devkit will be available.

We are still working on the deployer, the kickstarter campaign and the paperwork for launch. I assume about one year until launch.

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