What is a nanosatellite?

What is a nanosatellite?2018-02-21T10:28:58+00:00

Issues

Educatif issues, par Hubert Reeves

industry issues, by l’ESA

Presentation

[gdlr_column size=”2/4″]A nanosatellite is a small satellite whose mass is between 1 and 10 kg.
The nanosatellites developed at the University Space Centre are called CubeSats:[/fusion_builder_column]

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Nanosatellites of the 1Unit CubeSats type

Size: 10cm profile
Mass : 1 kg
Volume : 1 Litre
They rotate as they orbit the Earth (non-stabilised).
These characteristics are compatible with standard CubeSat containers called “deployment systems” which enable them to be propelled into space from launchers.

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Nanosatellites of the triple CubeSats 3Units type

or the equivalent of three stacked CubeSats.
These nanosatellites can stabilise to point the solar panels towards the sun, observe a point on the globe or in space, and direct their antennae towards the ground station.

What is a nanosatellite made of?

The plateform

All the elements that allow the nanosatellite to operate: the mechanical structure, the ‘OBC’ on-board computer (the nanosatellite’s brain), the ‘EPS’ production and energy storage system (solar panels, battery, management card…), and a telecommunications system (antennae, emitter/receiver…). Some CubeSats, especially the 3Units, are also equipped with an attitude control system for precise pointing in space.

The payload, or experiment:

Equipment inside the platform, specific to each mission, that will perform the experiment (test of tolerance to radiation, data transfer, observations…).

Life of nanosatellite in space

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Survivor

Space is a hostile environment. The nanosatellite must survive there during the whole mission. After being subjected to very strong vibrations at the rocket’s take-off, it must also resist very high temperatures from the sun, extreme cold in the shade, extremely aggressive space radiation, and the challenges of the void of space – which prevents thermal exchange by convection and produces degassing (e.g.: the slightest bubble imprisoned in the glue will swell and burst a solar cell).

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Sustainable development

Its mission over, or in the event of a break-down, no question of it forming debris that could damage other satellites or cause pollution in space. It therefore has to come back down to earth and combust when re-entering the atmosphere. All of our nanosatellites comply with the L.O.S. law relative to space operations, which ensures the sustainable development aspect..