News

Meet the PocketQube team: SunewnewSat

August 15 2014

We have been talking to the some of the teams on the front line of the PocketQube revolution. This blog features Montaser Sallam of the SunewnewSat team, a 1p PocketQube project from Jordan in Middle East. SunewnewSat is currently in the design phase and will hopefully get a launch in the not too distant future. The satellite will carry an array of small sensors.

How did you hear about PocketQube?

__

After seeing Planetary Resources’ ARKYD kickstarter campaign, I got really excited and started looking for other space related projects, that’s when I found out about the awesome Wren PocketQube and eventually the PocketQube standard.

__

Tell us a bit about your PocketQube Project

__

SunewnewSat is the first Jordanian satellite project, it serves as an educational platform for me as a student and other university or high school students in the future. I am planning to keep things as simple as possible. Naturally, my primary focus will be on the radio and the EPS. A number of sensor readings will be downlinked to earth through different protocols. A simple satellite identification system will also be explored. 

Why choose a PocketQube form factor?

...

A satellite that fits in your pocket!? Where do I sign up?

I think that is the coolest fact about PocketQubes.

__

Where did the idea come from, what is the objective?

__

I have an interest in spacecraft avionics and I wanted some advice on that subject so I sent a message to one of Planetary Resources’ engineers asking for advice, his advice to me was to start a Cubesat program in my university. Unfortunately, due to some issues, that was not possible. I didn’t give up, so I tried my luck with the local amateur radio society and they were supportive, needless to say, SunewnewSat was born.

__

What do you do outside building your PocketQube?

__

I am an electronics engineering undergraduate at Yarmouk University, IEEE Vice Chairman of YU student branch, a guitarist and a black belt holder in Shotokan Karate. I am also working towards getting an amateur radio operator license.

__

What does the future hold?

__

The learning curve is very steep, so whatever the future holds, an amazing experience is ahead of us. 

__

What are your top tips for budding PocketQube builder?

__

Don’t unplug the soldering iron and you will be fine.

__

What is your definition of success?

__

A functional engineering model that have passed all the required tests. SunewnewSat in orbit, not as space debris though.

____

Got PocketQube ideas? Start your project todayIf you found this interview interesting please consider sharing it :) Building a PocketQube, want to be featured on this blog? Get in touchYou can keep up to date with the SunewnewSat project via their website, https://www.facebook.com/pages/SunewnewSat/679922652088229?fref=ts

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube, join our mailing list!

Email Address 

___


9 Payload ideas for your PocketQube Satellite

August 12 2014

What is a PocketQube?

PocketQube Satellites were originally proposed by Morehead State University professor Robert Twiggs. Prof Twiggs is the creator of the popular Cubesat form factor. PocketQubes are standardized 5cm cubes which can be stacked to create larger spacecraft. They are a relatively new concept, building on the large consumer electronics supply chain.

These tiny structures, which contain all the electronics, are the building blocks of any satellite. Larger satellites such as Cubesats also use off-the-shelf components, which help by reducing failure rates and the hassle of building custom parts.

What payloads have already been used on a PocketQube?

QubeScout S1: Fine Sun Sensor

QubeScout S1 was designed and built by the University of Maryland. It flew a test fine sunsensor developed in UMBC LACO lab and intended to determine the dynamic attitude of the QubeScout platform and monitor the change in rotation of QubeScout as a function of changing moment of inertia during solar panel/de-orbiter.

T-LogoQube: CZT Array

This pocketqube was designed and built by undergraduate students at Sonoma State University and Morehead State University. The approach taken on designing the subsystems bus for the pocketqube is to integrate a circuit with a Pic18F25K22 processor along with circuitry that contains components that will measure values such as: battery current and voltage, on-board temperature and radio and processor, solar panel voltage, current and temperature, and external temperature providing telemetry for the satellite and space environment monitoring. The initial plan was to fly a CZT array to measure X-rays. In the end, the payload did not fly.

WREN: Camera, 3 Axis Reaction Wheel, Pulsed Plasma Thrusters

WREN is a crowd-funded femto-satellite by start-up company STADIKO to test miniaturized thrusters, 3-axis control and a new image based navigation system. It is equipped with a camera system to take pictures of the Earth, Sun and Deep Space. In addition to the conventional gyro- and magnetic field attitude sensors, those three components will constitute an adaptive feedback guidance system.

$50sat: No payload

$50sat (also known as Eagle-2) was successfully launched and is still operational. The concept for the satellite is to see if a micro-radio transceiver, the HOPE RFM22 is sufficient for transmitting and receiving data from a satellite in orbit. The main data payload is transmitted as FSK RTTY which should be readily heard on the ground with basic amateur radio equipment.

 

$50sat was the most successful PocketQube and is currently still operational. The team decided to keep things simple and not fly a payload.

 

Link: http://www.50dollarsat.info/

 

What are the PocketQube applications currently in development?

OzQube-1: Camera

 

OzQube-1 is Australia’s first pocketqube project, which is being developed by Stuart McAndrew. It is a 1P pocketqube that will host a camera as the payload.

Arduiqube: Sensor Suite, LED Beacon

 

Arduiqube is the first South American P1 pocketqube. It is meant as a testbed to test vital and attitude parameters of a pocketqube satellite. It will fly a suite of sensors as well as a LED beacon, which it is hoped will be visible from the ground.

BME-1: Spectrum Analyser

BME-1 is currently being designed and built at the Technical University of Budapest, following their successful launch of cubesat Masat-1. It will accommodate a spectrum analyser to measure the man-made electromagnetic pollution (electrosmog).

Keep up to date with PocketQube, join our mailing list!

Email Address 

___

What are some possible future PocketQube payloads?

Inter-satellite communications

Most satellites can only communicate with the ground and this limits its their potential range of applications. For small swarms of satellites to be truly affect, satellite-to-satellite communications must become viable. This could be done on a PocketQube.

De-orbit technology (active/passive)

 

Space junk is obviously a bad thing and keeping lifetimes in orbit to a minimum is really important for smallsat folks to develop ways of re-entering quickly after their mission goals have been accomplished. Both active and passive methods need to increase their TRL levels to be widely adopted, PocketQube could do this.

 

Imager


A picture of earth has never been taken from something as small as a PocketQube. But that does not mean that it is not possible. In fact it really is doable and there will be a race to see who can capture this milestone first.

Hopefully we haven’t scared you off PocketQubes too much, but if you want to know more then drop us an email contact@pocketqubeshop.com and we can help discuss your first/next satellite project. You can scout out your new PQ hardware here.

 

If you found this blog useful, please share it!

___ 

Keep up to date with PocketQube, join our mailing list!

Email Address 

___


7 reasons an Independent School should start a PocketQube Satellite today!

August 01 2014

Building a satellite seems pretty far out there, right? Well actually its gaining popularity amongst mainstream tertiary level Universities and Colleges on every continent. The costs have dropped dramatically due to standardisation and shrinking spacecraft sizes. A 1p PocketQube is 5cm cubed, which isn’t an awful lot of real estate to play with, but computing power has been growing at a near exponential rate as predicted by Moore's law. This means small satellites can do many tasks that it would have previously taken a much larger satellite to achieve.

 

1. It’s achievable

 

High Schoolers have build satellites which are now orbit Earth! This has been done, albeit the concept is very new. The first High School Satellite was called TJ3Sat and was designed and built by an American University called Thomas Jefferson High. With the backing of Orbital Sciences Corporation and a free launch on the NASA Elana Cubesat program, there 1kg Cubesat made Orbit on the 19th of November 2013.

Another High School Satellite to make orbit was Duchifat-1 from Israel which was co-ordinated by the Herzliya Science Centre (HSC). This was launched from Russia in June this year and was a complete success!

Duchifat-1, Credit: Wiki commons

Duchifat-1, Credit: Wiki commons

2. STEM Benefits

 

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) are one of the most important areas to develop economic growth. Yet all over the world there are a shortage of workers with these valuable skills. The challenge is to get Student’s passionate about subjects which are not easy, but a incredibly valuable to society as a whole.

 

Satellites get students enthusiastic! The idea that they could build something that will orbit the Earth and that they could add real value too, will ultimately mean more students leaving for Universities and Colleges in the STEM arenas.

 

3. Student Benefits

 

There are multiple student benefits including learning about physics, maths and teamworking. But in our opinion having the fact that you have built a satellite and can put that on your application form to Stanford, MIT, Harvard or Oxford etc, will ultimately make any student standout from the crowd.

 

4. Increased Revenue to the School

 

Independent Private High Schools are businesses. They charge money for school fee’s and are essentially selling an educational service to students parents or guardians. They compete in an open market and therefore parent’s with the resources can be choosy about which school they choose. If you had the option of two comparable schools, one with a satellite program and one without, which one would you choose? The one building a satellite of course.

 

The cost of a PocketQube would typically be less than the salary of an additional teacher for a school year, but in reality probably much less. We estimate a PocketQube project could start from around $35k. This cost could be spread out over a number of school terms as the project develops.

 

If an average Independant charges $10k per year in school fees, then to cover this cost the school would only have to recruit 1 (one) extra student for 3.5 years in order to break even on the project.

 

5. Publicity Benefits

 

Building a satellite brings publicity and ultimately school fees. Wouldn't it be cool if President Obama came round for a photo opportunity? Well guess who showed up to to see the first High School Satellite.

Credit: @TJ3Sat

Credit: @TJ3Sat

Local politicians are always on the lookout for good news stories to attach their name too, and when they find out that you are building your countries/states/regions first High School built satellite, they will be queueing up.


6. Reputation Benefits


Apart from the obvious technology benefits from developing something like a PocketQube, your High School will be seen as the prominent High Technology education centre in the region.


7. Its really cool!


The team at PocketQube Shop get out of bed every morning not for the pay cheques, but for the same reason a lot of people work in the space industry, its inspiring. Knowing that your hardware is orbiting the Earth at 17,500 mph and doing useful science or in our case enabling others is just the coolest thing we can think to spend our times doing.


Hopefully we haven’t scared you off PocketQubes too much, but if you want to know more then drop us an emailcontact@pocketqubeshop.com and we can help discuss your first/next satellite project.


If you found this blog useful, please share it!


___ 

Keep up to date with PocketQube, join our mailing list!

Email Address 

___


Meet the PocketQube team: BME-1

July 28 2014

We have been talking to the some of the teams on the front line of the PocketQube revolution. This blog features Andras Gschwindt of the BME-1 team, a 1p PocketQube project from Hungary in eastern Europe. BME-1 is currently in the build phase and will hopefully get a launch in the not too distant future. The satellite will carry a small spectrum analyser, the first PQ to fly such a device.

BME-1 PocketQube Satellite

BME-1 PocketQube Satellite

_

How did you hear about PocketQube? 

 

I have seen a report from Prof Bob Twiggs (Morehead State University).

Tell us a bit about your PocketQube Project 

 

After the success of Masat-1 (a 1U Cubesat launched on Vega a few years ago) which is a technological experiment, we decided to go further looking for new challenges. To do a smaller satellite platform and to put on an experiment too. This led to the 1P sized PocketQube called BME-1. BME is the shorted form of the Technical University of Budapest (Budapesti Műszaki és). We have a new student group and they are working on BME-1 with a lot of interest.

Masat-1: 1U Cubesat now in orbit

Masat-1: 1U Cubesat now in orbit

_

Where did the idea come from, what is the objective? 

 

It is an old idea of mine to measure the man made electromagnetic pollution (electrosmog) above the Earth. Now, due to the high integration of the components its possible to realise a spectrum analyser on board as we call it 'Flying Aerial'.

_

What do you do outside building your PocketQube? 

 

The daily task to operate Masat-1 and to introduce it for our sponsors and university students. 

What does the future hold? 

 

 A lot of work . 

 _ 

What are your top tips for budding PocketQube builder? 

 

 To spend a lot of time to study what the other small satellite constructors made. The internet is an excellent background. 

What is your definition of success? 

 

 To see the results of the first measurements from BME-1.   

___

Got PocketQube ideas? Start your project todayIf you found this interview interesting please consider sharing it :) Building a PocketQube, want to be featured on this blog? Get in touchYou can keep up to date with the BME-1 project via their website,  http://www.gnd.bme.hu/bme1/index.html

___ 

Keep up to date with PocketQube, join our mailing list!

Email Address 

___


A 3U Cubesat or 24 PocketQubes?

May 14 2014

We have been throwing around quite an interesting idea within the PocketQube Shop team which in our opinion has a huge opportunity to disrupt small satellites and primarily super low-cost constellations. Essentially the idea is to utilise a CSD deployer, commonly used to deploy 3U cubesats on a tabs systems (rather than rails) and carry 24x1p PocketQubes or 12x2p PocketQubes.

Why do this?

 

Super low-cost constellations rather than one large in situ spacecraft. The advantages of constellations are that you can have more than one point for collecting data (such as images) and instead have multiple points. When in position, you could have near blanket coverage of the Earth for your new constellation. This has many potential science or even tech demo applications.

Spread the love!

 

The cool thing about something like this is that a national government that has say very little heritage in space and a very small budget could theoretically get a lot of participation out from such a project. You could have up to 24 Universities or High Schools, each participating in the learning experience and creating a national multiplier effect.  If each University/School had 5 teachers involved and 20 students per satellite, that is 600 people directly involved in designing building and testing the Spacecraft.

 

Launch one CSD per year and now you are talking about thousands of people taking part in what could be one of the most inspirational education projects ever. What will these kids build next? How about an number of satellite startups which could catapult a nation from a Space backwater to world leader.

 

Sound like a fun project to get going? Let us know: contact@pocketqubeshop.com


PocketQubes at Cubesat Workshop

May 04 2014

We are just back from the Cubesat workshop which was held at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo. Being PocketQubers it was great to see so many talks about PocketQubes. Naturally Prof Bob Twiggs was talking about PQ's, giving a generic overview of what is happening in the field and what to look out for. From the T-LogoQube team Dr Jernigan and Kevin Jack both gave a presentation and a demo of their spacecraft. From GAUSS Team, Chantal talked about the Unisat-5 mission which carried the first 4 PocketQubes into orbit. On the final day, Walter Holemans of Planetary Systems presented a paper we helped co-write about using a CSD canister (Cubesat deployer with tabs) the carry up to 24 PocketQubes into orbit.

Link to Presentation Videos:

http://mediasite01.ceng.calpoly.edu/Mediasite/Catalog/pages/catalog.aspx?catalogId=e0ab7bc5-373b-4110-9948-09268f59cc49 

Session 1: Prof Bob Twiggs, Kevin Jack + Dr Jernigan

Session 2: Chantal from GAUSS

Session 6: Walter from Planetary Systems

Pictures from the Event

Prof Bob Twiggs of MSU, Cubesat & PocketQube Inventor

Prof Bob Twiggs of MSU, Cubesat & PocketQube Inventor

Model of T-Logoqube on display at the MSU Table

Model of T-Logoqube on display at the MSU Table

Kevin Jack of Sonoma talking about his satellite, T-LogoQube

Kevin Jack of Sonoma talking about his satellite, T-LogoQube

Dr Jernigan talking T-LogoQube

Dr Jernigan talking T-LogoQube

Slide for Concept to dispense 24+ PocketQubes via CSD, presented by Walter by Planetary Systems

Slide for Concept to dispense 24+ PocketQubes via CSD, presented by Walter by Planetary Systems

___ 

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


PocketQube Workshop in Pictures

April 18 2014

Yesterday in Mountain View (17th April 2014) the 1st PocketQube Workshop was held at NASA Ames. Over 40 delegates attended the one-day event which covered the rapid growth of the PocketQube concept. Speakers included Prof Bob Twiggs of Morehead State University - creator of PocketQube, Dr Jerigan - a NASA vetran now helping with T-LogoQube - Sonoma states PocketQube currently in LEO, Chantal Cappelletti from GAUSS Team, Dennis Wingo from Skycorp, Kris Kimel from Kentucky Space and Tyman Clements also from Kentucky Space. The head of NASA Ames Pete Worden also swung by to contribute.

Prof Bob Twiggs talking

Prof Bob Twiggs talking

Live demo of the TLogoQube PocketQube

Live demo of the TLogoQube PocketQube

Chantal from GAUSS talking PocketQube launch opportunities

Chantal from GAUSS talking PocketQube launch opportunities

Dr Jerigan from Sonoma hold TLogoQube

Dr Jerigan from Sonoma hold TLogoQube

Pete Worden, Director of NASA Ames (Pic credit @AEM_MX)

Pete Worden, Director of NASA Ames (Pic credit @AEM_MX)

Bob Twiggs and Dennis Wingo talking about the ISEE-3 reboot project (Image credit @kyspace)

Bob Twiggs and Dennis Wingo talking about the ISEE-3 reboot project (Image credit @kyspace)

PocketQube Shop stand

PocketQube Shop stand

PocketQube Shop COTS parts for PocketQube

PocketQube Shop COTS parts for PocketQube

___

If you found this blog interesting please consider sharing it :) Building a PocketQube, want to be featured on this blog? Get in touch.

 

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


Meet the PocketQube team: ArduiQube

March 12 2014

We have been talking to the some of the teams on the front line of the PocketQube revolution. This blog features Gustavo of the Arduiqube team, a 1p PocketQube project as well as the first south american PQ and the first arduino based PocketQube. 

How did you hear about PocketQube?

I heard about pocketqube about two years ago, when I was compiling information about cubesat and tripped over the news of the development of a unit smaller than a cubesat, the pocketqube.

Tell us a bit about your PocketQube Project

The ARDUIQUBE, or Arduino PocketQube, is a simple testbed that want to measure the vital and attitude parameters of a satellite.

Where did the idea come from, what is the objective?

Our project is mainly oriented for educational purposes. We want to be the Kitty Hawk or Ford T of the pocketqube. Made with simple elements, that any group of students can find and begin working without high costs. That's why  we choose an ARDUINO processor. It's simple and popular around the world for students and hobbyists to get into electronics.

What do you do outside building your PocketQube?

I work in a science institute as electronic technician in the navigation office. This office deals with the study and development of IMU. I'm  amateur radio, my callsign is LW2DTZ  and this activity attracted to the amateur satellite activity.

What does the future hold?

It is a lot of intrigue that always goes on topics to predict and know what is the future that awaits us. In the pocketqube field's the future is great, if we can skip the launcher obstacle. In the past  Cubesat have begun timidly and today the space is full of these, so extrapolating is mandatory, the future is auspicious. 

What are your top tips for budding PocketQube builder?

Keep it simple, stupid. Make a simple and strong construction. Be practical, don’t try to reinvent the wheel, in most of the occasions there is a solution at hand. Test and test all the times you can. And remember that perfect is enemy of the good.

What is your definition of success?

Success can be measured from different points of view and, therefore, there is no single definition of it. Success is not an end in itself, it is the natural result of personal work, which is born and is built from ourselves. Being successful is feeling good about yourself and put our ARDUIQUBE in orbit in the near future will help with this feeling.

____

Got the PocketQube itch? Start your project todayIf you found this interview interesting please consider sharing it :) Building a PocketQube, want to be featured on this blog? Get in touchYou can keep up to date with the Arduiqube project via their website, http://www.diysatellite.com/

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


Meet the PocketQube team: WREN

March 08 2014

We have been talking to the some of the teams on the front line of the PocketQube revolution. This blog features Paul Kocyla of the WREN team, the first 1p PocketQube project as well as the most advanced with a camera (SSTV), 3 axis reaction wheel and propulsion onboard. WREN made orbit but failed to make contact with the ground, Paul shares his thoughts.

_

How did you hear about PocketQube?

 

I found a presentation from Professor Twiggs on the web two years ago and was fascinated about it from the beginning.

_

Tell us a bit about your PocketQube Project

 

I was developing a pulsed plasma thruster one year before I heard of PocketQubs, and this new satellite geometry gave me the chance to send the thrusters into space.

_

Where did the idea come from, what is the objective?

 

I heard about Cubesats some years ago. At this time, I wanted to participate in a university Cubesat project, but unfortunately due to my bachelor exams I had to delay that - what I never forgave myself. So when I heard about the PocketQubs I started to develop one immediately. At this time I met two guys who wanted to found a company and send satellites into space, so we founded.

-

Due to internal issues the company is not existing anymore.  Later a friend of mine (Sacha Tholl) helped me with the ground station issue and the paperwar to finally bring Wren into space. The objective was to produce a cost effective platform for education and  research. After giving up the company I am on my own again. So for now, I will make future projects for passion, mostly related to amateur radio enthusiasts and makers.

_

What do you do outside building your PocketQube?

 

I am a hardware engineer and professionally developing home automation systems.During free time I mostly focused on computer vision and artificial intelligence. I build an air-pressure/solar-charge autonomous model car and a robot capable of making a conversation with humans in natural language (two years before Siri ;-) ). I am also involved in the QB50 project of the FH-Aachen University where I develop a precise sun sensor.

_

What does the future hold?

 

Currently I am developing a new satellite. It will be simpler and cheaper than Wren - but hopefully more reliable.

The goal is to build a satellite for radio amateurs and make the development process transparent. There will be no higher purpose, except fun. Everybody shall be able to receive it with a simple homebuild antenna and USB-Radio-Stick for about  20$ total. Later I want to provide development kits - maybe via the PocketQube shop. It will have a camera with SSTV and a remote attitude control. During the development of Wren I learned a lot and will try to avoid many mistakes in order to build a reliable satellite. For the future there is also a new kind of thruster on the project list.

_

What are your top tips for budding PocketQube builder?

 

1) The most important thing is: Don´t book the launch before you finished constructing and testing. We did that mistake, and it  brought us many many problems. In the end, Wren failed after short time due to lack of testing.

2) Better safe than sorry. A simple, robust consctruction which is working is more satisfying than a complex satellite which fails after a short time. I suggest to build a safe one first and learn during the process, then eventually proceed with a complex one. (We tested the thrusters in high vacuum. They worked extremely good. Unfortunately we didn't have the chance to test them in space because Wren stopped operation).

_

What is your definition of success?

 

According the next PocketQub mission: Beacons would be great. A picture from orbit would be fantastic. Happy radio amateurs controlling the satellite and having a hell of fun with it for a long time would make it a full success!

According to life: Living my passions and spark the passion in others. Achieving the impossible together and having fun doing that.

 

Got the PocketQube itch? Start your project todayIf you found this interview interesting please share it :)

 

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


Meet the PocketQube team: $50sat

February 21 2014

We have been talking to the some of the teams on the front line of the PocketQube revolution. This blog features Stuart, Howie and Michael of the $50sat team, the first operational PocketQube project, cheapest satellite in history and one of the smallest as well. $50sat has currently been operational in orbit for over 90 days at the time of publishing.

How did you hear about PocketQube?

Early in 2012 Professor Twiggs started a project to see if small functional satellites could be built and launched at low cost by schools and colleges. These were to be the first PocketQubes.  The suggestion was to use a PICAXE processor as this was already quite popular in the education sector. I had done some projects with the PICAXE and the RFM22B transceiver, this was noticed and I got an email asking if I wanted to be involved. Never having built a satellite before, I said yes. 

Where did the idea come from, what is the objective?

The idea for the PocketQube (PQ) came from Professor Twiggs. The main objective of our project was to see if a small satellite made from commercial off the shelf components (in other words not using any space hardened parts)  would be viable in low earth orbit. The secondary objective was that that it should return useful information on solar panel and battery performance.  We also needed to have a method of controlling it from the ground, say to turn of the transmitter if requested.

Tell us a bit about your PocketQube Project

A phrase I kept thinking about was “you can't add simple”.  It was more important to the $50SAT team (Howie DeFelice, Michael Kirkhart and Stuart Robinson)  to ensure we proved the concept of the PQ than it was to build a technically advanced satellite. To maximise the chance of success we kept the electronics and mechanics as simple as possible, whilst still ensuring that the basic functions of the satellite operated reliably. 

The biggest issues for $50SAT were what radio to use, which battery and how to maximise power from the solar panels.  At the time $50SAT was being designed there was not a lot of choice for radios, given the size constraint and that it needed to be frequency programmable. We also needed to develop a miniature maximum power point tracker for the solar panels.

With no real information available on suitable long distance radios (Hope said the expected range of the RFM22B was around 1-2km) a lengthy series of simple but practical tests were carried out, over my local park and amongst the hills of South Wales. This provided test results and numbers that showed uplink and downlink to low Earth orbit with a RFM22B should work.  

What do you do outside building your PocketQube?

I currently work in IT support for major UK utility companies (Stuart), although I started my career by spending several years as an electronic designer and supporting the manufacture of computer based products. 

What does the future hold?

The success of $50SAT has shown that it is possible for simple to build  and low cost  satellites to operate in low earth orbit. Such satellites are perhaps best suited to low altitude short duration missions and with the upcoming developments of low altitude reduced cost launches the PQ concept is likely to be very popular in the future. Using the PQ concept schools and colleges will be able to design and build low cost and functional satellites as part of their curriculum's

There are some improved SPI interface based radios (in a PQ compatible size) now available,  more sensitive and with higher output powers. So it may be that future PQ builders will be able to implement radios capable of higher data rates.

What are your top tips for budding PocketQube builders?

Stuart

1.  Above all else, do the numbers. There is little point in looking at high power radios, or power hungry experiments if you don't have the power to run them. The same applies to the uplink and downlink budgets, do the numbers to ensure you have a viable link with the equipment you will use or you will fail. 

2.  Test, test and test again. Build a working model of the electronics, put it in a box with some solar panels then put it outside in the sun and leave it alone.  Is it still working, uplink and downlink, the next day, week or month ? If not why not ?

3. Unless you are a very large organisation, you will need help from others to listen to and submit reception reports for your satellite. Remember the less complex the requirements for the ground station operations are the more people will hear your satellite. 

4. From the outset ensure you have a method of engaging with the worldwide community of satellite listeners and radio amateurs. The $50SAT team have had many reception reports from radio amateurs all over the globe and the reports have been invaluable in working out how well $50SAT and its systems are performing.

5. Help those that follow you, publish and post as much information about your mission as you can, after all you want the benefit of an information resource of previous missions, dont you ?


Michael

1. Start with a CLEAR definition of what your mission is.  Just after we were offered the opportunity to build our own satellite, we spent a few days deciding WHAT we wanted to accomplish with $50SAT (beside deciding on a name for the satellite).  This is important, even if you are ultimately not going to get your satellite launched.  Your mission will likely have to be refined as you investigate how much of it is possible, or even practical.  This is part of the normal system engineering process.

2. Monitor the downlink from any of the amateur satellites that are currently in orbit, just to get experience.  There is one currently in orbit which does not require expensive equipment to monitor (hint, hint), and its developers are offering QSL cards (although there are a limited number of them available) for valid reception reports.  Planning your ground station is an important part of your mission; if you cannot communicate with your satellite, it is just another piece of space junk orbiting the Earth.  Unfortunately, it seems to be something that is overlooked in some of the student satellite projects.  As one blogger stated, "Everyone wants to be a satellite stud, no one wants to be an antenna dork."  You need to be an antenna dork, or at least plan on getting assistance from antenna dorks.

3. Get your amateur radio license.  If you are actually getting your satellite launched and plan on utilizing amateur radio frequencies for your satellite uplink/downlink, this will be a REQUIREMENT.

Howie

If the numbers are not at least close for both power budget and link budget, then you are designing a guaranteed failure. Building upon the work of others is a force multiplier. Try to understand what drove the decisions of other successful projects and apply that process to your own project. Don't be afraid to ask for input, but make the questions as specific as possible. 


What is your definition of success?

$50SAT, it works.

 

For more information on $50sat, check out www.50dollarsat.info.

Start your PocketQube project, choose your hardware today

 

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


How to build a PocketQube team

February 19 2014

Building a satellite is a big challenge. It takes a bunch of different skillsets to pull off your operational satellite. For example the $50Sat team had 3 team members and Prof Twiggs helped guide them. Whether you are Diy, Ham Radio or a School/University team, spreading the load will make life easier.

 

Get a leader

You need a PocketQube champion to get early momentum. That is probably the person reading this post. They don’t need to be the most outgoing or knowledgeable, the key here is passion.

 

Inspire others

You need to create a level of excitement in others that this is going to happen and if they don’t get involved they are missing out on a life changing opportunity.

Use example of successful teams. Two Universities have PocketQubes on Orbit, why shouldn’t yours? The $50sat team built their satellite on a shoestring budget and it is still operational. The open-sourced designs are online, maybe you could add to this with your team?

Space has the power to get grown adults acting like little kids. Use that to inspire others that they can contribute to the NewSpace movement in some tangible way, for less than the price of a new car.

 

Delegate

Getting a team of people with different skillsets helps. With a team leader in place you need technical people. You may buy parts of the shelf such as structures or jigs, but you also may want to get your hands dirty.

Generally speaking people who are interested in electronics, Pcb design and construction will be really valuable. Software and coders can help as well, as even the most simple satellite will need some software to do something useful.

Mechanical engineers or more classical ‘makers’ can also be a really valuable asset. A team will likely use the amateur radio bands and needs a ham radio operator. Maybe befriend your local ham radio operator and see if they would like to help you out in return for helping get your satellite launched. Otherwise one team member will need to take those exams.

Non-technical people should also be viewed as a valuable asset. You need to promote your cause, get funding, social media and PR (invariably linked to funding). They can also handle outreach and building a core base of evangelists for your project which may be of help when you run into a challenge or two.

 

Summary

Building a team isn’t easy, but definitely will help down the road as you encounter challenges. Hopefully this brief blog has gave you lots of ideas!

Start your PocketQube project today :)

 

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


PocketQub or PocketQube?

February 17 2014

So you may have seen a few spellings of PocketQube. PocketQub.org has a lot of archive info on the standard, but the first 4 to launch were called PocketQube’s with ‘e’. We have even seen PocketCubes or Pocket Cubes, all very confusing.

 

In-order to keep everything simple we are focusing on the PocketQube spelling. That is why we are PocketQube Shop. PocketQubes use a MR-Fod to deploy and as far as we can work out PocketQub and PocketQube can be used interchangeably.


Happy PocketQube building :)

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


Meet the PocketQube Teams: OzQube-1

January 28 2014

We have been talking to the some of the teams on the front line of the PocketQube revolution. This blog features Stuart McAndrew of the OzQube-1 team, Australia's first PocketQube project.

__

How did you hear about PocketQube?

I first heard about PocketQube's from the popular Crowd-source funding website "Kickstarter". I started supporting projects on Kickstarter a year ago, and had been keeping an eye out for space related campaigns. When the campaign for Pocketqube shop started, I was keen to get on board.

__

Tell us a bit about your PocketQube Project

I've started a project called "OzQube-1". It is Australia's first PocketQube satellite ( that I know of!) The current plan is to build a 1P sized PocketQube that hosts a camera as a payload.

__

Where did the idea come from, what is the objective?

After reading all about Pocketqubes from the Kickstarter project, and doing a heap of internet trawling, I found that it coincided with the first launch of several Pocketqubes. One of them is called $50sat. This is a PocketQube that is made from low cost components and controlled by a PicAxe microcontroller. Seeing how reliable the tiny satellite has been showed me that even something inexpensive can work well.  Being a technically minded kind of person, I thought that this was possibly something I could build, to combine my interests and give me a decent challenge.

Plus it's in my price range! There are a few objectives for the project.  One is to create and build the satellite as an Engineering model, or Proof of Concept if you like. It's not going to be built to " flight ready" specifications - meaning no clean room, or other activities need for an actual space-bound craft. But the design will be able to be replicated if the opportunity arises to actually send it to space. Plus there's a whole lot more paperwork if it is space bound!

Another objective is to promote DIY space activities to try and inspire other Australians and people worldwide to have a focus on space related activities. A third objective relates to Australia's "Satellite Utilisation Policy" set by the Australian government in 2013 . I hope to try and contribute to some of the underlying principles they have described, such as having a domestic Earth Observation Capability, and developing expertise in space science, research and innovation.    

__

What do you do outside building your PocketQube?

I currently work as an IT Operations Manager. I'm involved with all aspects of IT for a few small-medium sized companies.  

__

What does the future hold?

For me - lots of learning new skills! For Pocketqubes- I hope that the PocketQube community grows and grows. The PocketQube size and cost makes space far more accessible than ever before. I think it will become a stepping stone for everyone who wants to build a career in the space industry.

__

What are your top tips for budding PocketQube builder?

Read and learn as much as you can! A lot of the ideas and development of Cubesat technologies can be applied to PocketQubes.  

__

What is your definition of success?

If I can hold OzQube-1 in the air on top of a high hill ( not many mountains near me in Western Australia), and have it transmit its telemetry signal to a receiver 68km away, then I reckon I've done OK.

__

You can keep up to date with OzQube-1's progress on their website http://ozqube-1.blogspot.co.uk/ or on twitter 

OzQube-1

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


Rewards Update - 3D Models

December 04 2013

Hi Everyone,

Thanks to our Kickstarter, things have been steaming ahead and  we are excited to be shipping our awesome supporters their very own 3D printed PocketQube models!

Ready for dispatch!

Ready for dispatch!

PocketQube Constellation

PocketQube Constellation

A big thanks to those who have supported us and we are getting closer to our goal of micro satellite exploration. If you would like to show your support and get some goodies or just find out what's going on feel free to get in touch.

Many Thanks

The PocketQube Shop Team :) 

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___


Kickstarter Rewards Update - T-Shirts Shipped

October 24 2013

Hi Everyone,

We have now shipped everyone's t-shirts (apart from a few local Glasgow backers). Hope you like them and it would be great to see you all wearing them with pride!

For washing please turn them inside out and do not iron on top of the artwork, we have been told that can do them some damage.

There are more rewards being shipped next week.

Thank you for all the support!

Thanks

Tom

Ps. First Homebrew t-shirt spotted in the wild... :)

___

Keep up to date with PocketQube with our mailing list

Email Address 

___

Google+