CubeSat

  • NASA is carrying out pre-commissioning tests on a small satellite that could have a big impact on future missions. The shoebox-sized Dellingr spacecraft is designed to not only carry out science operations, but to demonstrate that it is possible to produce robust CubeSats with a low failure rate.
  • Humanity’s first “space nation”, Asgardia, is a step closer to getting off the ground after its first satellite was launched last week. The end goal is for millions of people to live on satellites, but don’t pack your bags just yet: Asgardia-1 is just a CubeSat carrying 500 GB of pictures and text.
  • Most CubeSats don’t pack their own propulsion systems, instead hitchhiking into orbit aboard other satellite launches. Now, to make them more maneuverable, researchers have developed a system that would allow the mini satellites to safely propel themselves by spraying jets of ordinary water.
  • Look upwards tonight and you might just see a new “star” streaking across the sky. A Russian CubeSat called Mayak (meaning "lighthouse") was successfully launched on Friday, and is set to be one of the brightest objects in the night sky.
  • The night sky is dotted with familiar faces, easy to spot thanks to their brightness. But a new object could soon outshine them all (bar the Moon, of course): A Russian CubeSat fitted with solar reflectors, named “Mayak” is due for launch mid-July.
  • ​Last year, some 200,000 people decided they don’t want to live on this planet anymore, and registered to be citizens of the first “space nation,” Asgardia. Now the self-appointed Head of Nation has outlined plans to launch the first of the nation's satellites.
  • After spending seven months tracking aircraft, CubeSat CanX-7 has started the second phase of its mission, deploying four drag sails to help it fall to Earth faster. The system is designed to demonstrate ways that spacecraft could dispose of themselves post-mission, to help the space junk problem.
  • One down side to CubeSat satellites' small size is the fact that they can overheat or get too cold very quickly. With that in mind, scientists have created a new type of temperature-regulating radiator for them … and it does its job by folding, just like origami.​
  • The main focus of shoebox-sized CubeSats is studying Earth and testing technologies in orbit. NASA has outlined six new small satellite missions to be launched over the next few months, equipped with new methods of studying the Earth’s atmosphere, climate and weather.
  • ​​Rubik’s-cube-sized CubeSats are nifty, cheap way to study space, but they’re limited to low orbits – until now. Los Alamos researchers have created a safe and innovative rocket motor that could allow CubeSats to zoom around space and even de-orbit themselves when they’re finished their mission.​
  • Lockheed Martin has signed a contract with NASA to develop and deploy SkyFire, a six-unit CubeSat designed to shed more light on the Moon's surface. It will ride along with Orion when the Space Launch System EM-1​ takes off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in 2018.
  • Fancy your own personal satellite? Arizona State University​ is working towards making this a reality with its SunCube FemtoSat project. The low-cost, student-designed satellite is aimed at providing greater access to space for scientists and hobbyists alike.