Session

Pre-Conference: CubeSat Developers' Workshop

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Abstract

Demand of an environment test facility suitable for micro/nano satellites has increased as the number of new satellite developers such as universities and small business companies has increased. In Japan, development of micro/nano satellites (10cm to 50cm) is very active since Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started the piggyback program via H2A rocket in 2009. Micro/nano satellite systems and components can be developed at a small laboratory. For testing, however, expensive and special test machines such as thermal vacuum chamber and high power shaker are necessary. To reduce the burden on the micro/nano satellite developers, Center of Nanosatellite Testing (CeNT) at Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT) was established as a comprehensive test facility for micro/nano satellite up to 50 cm in 2010. The purpose of CeNT is to provide low-cost and easy-to-use testing service for universities and small business companies. CeNT has a vibration machine (~ 33 kN), shock machines (~10000G), small and large thermal vacuum chambers (0.3 m and 1.7 m) and thermal cycle chambers. Offering the one-stop service for environment testing ensures the traceability of verification processes necessary for anomaly investigation. Since 2010, 11 satellite projects used the facility. 2 satellites were already launched in 2012 and 9 satellites will be launched in 2013. This paper describes the testing results and their on-orbit performance of the following 3 satellites. 1. Horyu-2 (Kyushu Institute of Technology, launched in 2012) Horyu-2 was launched on May 18, 2012. The satellite was developed by KIT students. The satellite’s size and weight are 30 cm cube and 7 kg. During the project, STM, EM and FM were developed from 2010 to 2012. The main mission of Horyu-2 is high voltage photovoltaic power generation. Vibration, shock and thermal vacuum were carried out for each model. JAXA set the strict test conditions for the vibration test and the shock test to avoid accidents such as dropping parts, accidental switch-on and unexpected RF emission during the launch and the fairing separation that could cause the critical damage to the main satellites. The satellite was launched without any anomaly. The temperature variation during the nominal operation matched with the prediction. We kept a detail record of the cost associated with each test. The effectiveness of each test will be reviewed. 2. FITSAT (Fukuoka Institute of Technology, launched in 2012) FITSAT was launched on October, 2012. The satellite was one of the first nano satellites released from Japan Experiment Module (JEM) on International Space Station (ISS). FITSAT was launched by HTV (H2 Transfer vehicle). It was packed within the rocket body, very different conditions from typical piggy-back satellites. The missions of FITSAT were high- speed data communication by 5.8 GHz amateur band and high power LED illumination. At CeNT, vibration and thermal vacuum test was carried out for EM and FM model. FITSAT carried a lithium-ion battery to drive the high power LED. Thermal vacuum test was necessary to ensure the safety of the battery because FITSAT was stored on ISS (International Space Station) until the satellite was released. The satellite missions were successful. 3. QSAT-EOS (Federation of universities and companies in Kyushu, launch in 2013) QSAT-EOS (Kyushu Satellite for Earth Observation System Demonstration) was developed by a consortium of universities and companies in Kyushu. The satellite is 50cm cube and 50kg weight. It will be launched in 2013 via a Dnepr rocket. QSAT-EOS was the first 50 kg satellite tested in CeNT. For QSAT-EOS, thermal vacuum test was conducted for STM and FM. In this paper, we will compare thermal vacuum test results and the on-orbit data. At the conference, the lessons learned from these environmental tests will be presented.

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Aug 10th, 12:30 PM

Testing of Micro/Nano Satellites and their On-orbit Performance

Demand of an environment test facility suitable for micro/nano satellites has increased as the number of new satellite developers such as universities and small business companies has increased. In Japan, development of micro/nano satellites (10cm to 50cm) is very active since Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started the piggyback program via H2A rocket in 2009. Micro/nano satellite systems and components can be developed at a small laboratory. For testing, however, expensive and special test machines such as thermal vacuum chamber and high power shaker are necessary. To reduce the burden on the micro/nano satellite developers, Center of Nanosatellite Testing (CeNT) at Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT) was established as a comprehensive test facility for micro/nano satellite up to 50 cm in 2010. The purpose of CeNT is to provide low-cost and easy-to-use testing service for universities and small business companies. CeNT has a vibration machine (~ 33 kN), shock machines (~10000G), small and large thermal vacuum chambers (0.3 m and 1.7 m) and thermal cycle chambers. Offering the one-stop service for environment testing ensures the traceability of verification processes necessary for anomaly investigation. Since 2010, 11 satellite projects used the facility. 2 satellites were already launched in 2012 and 9 satellites will be launched in 2013. This paper describes the testing results and their on-orbit performance of the following 3 satellites. 1. Horyu-2 (Kyushu Institute of Technology, launched in 2012) Horyu-2 was launched on May 18, 2012. The satellite was developed by KIT students. The satellite’s size and weight are 30 cm cube and 7 kg. During the project, STM, EM and FM were developed from 2010 to 2012. The main mission of Horyu-2 is high voltage photovoltaic power generation. Vibration, shock and thermal vacuum were carried out for each model. JAXA set the strict test conditions for the vibration test and the shock test to avoid accidents such as dropping parts, accidental switch-on and unexpected RF emission during the launch and the fairing separation that could cause the critical damage to the main satellites. The satellite was launched without any anomaly. The temperature variation during the nominal operation matched with the prediction. We kept a detail record of the cost associated with each test. The effectiveness of each test will be reviewed. 2. FITSAT (Fukuoka Institute of Technology, launched in 2012) FITSAT was launched on October, 2012. The satellite was one of the first nano satellites released from Japan Experiment Module (JEM) on International Space Station (ISS). FITSAT was launched by HTV (H2 Transfer vehicle). It was packed within the rocket body, very different conditions from typical piggy-back satellites. The missions of FITSAT were high- speed data communication by 5.8 GHz amateur band and high power LED illumination. At CeNT, vibration and thermal vacuum test was carried out for EM and FM model. FITSAT carried a lithium-ion battery to drive the high power LED. Thermal vacuum test was necessary to ensure the safety of the battery because FITSAT was stored on ISS (International Space Station) until the satellite was released. The satellite missions were successful. 3. QSAT-EOS (Federation of universities and companies in Kyushu, launch in 2013) QSAT-EOS (Kyushu Satellite for Earth Observation System Demonstration) was developed by a consortium of universities and companies in Kyushu. The satellite is 50cm cube and 50kg weight. It will be launched in 2013 via a Dnepr rocket. QSAT-EOS was the first 50 kg satellite tested in CeNT. For QSAT-EOS, thermal vacuum test was conducted for STM and FM. In this paper, we will compare thermal vacuum test results and the on-orbit data. At the conference, the lessons learned from these environmental tests will be presented.