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ArduSat Demonstration

ArduSat Demonstration

Using crowd-sourced funding, Infinity Aerospace’s ArduSat-2 tests terrestrial electronics and hardware that have been minimally adapted for use in space, which lowers the cost of access to low Earth orbit. The ArduSat demonstrates the utility of the ArduSat system for small satellite research.

Customer Name: Infinity Aerospace
Research: ArduSat Demonstration
NanoRacks Facility: Smallsat Deployment
Mission Duration: 03/2013 – Ongoing
Mission Status: Complete
More Info: From NASA website


Research Overview

  • Cost for space-proven materials is still exorbitant when compared to earth-rated products. Lowering the cost for such items is a crucial ingredient in providing affordable and convenient space exploration for everyone.
  • NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 tests advanced electronics and hardware from earth in the space environment with only minimal adaptation in order to lower cost of access and use of space.
  • NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 provides proof-of-concept that earth-rated sensors and materials can be used in space with minimal adaptation for specific applications including commercial and science application
  • NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 makes available information about what types of earth-rated sensors, microprocessors and materials might be most suited for basic and limited space applications and for what type of space applications.

Description

This experiment is a technical demonstration of the ArduLab microcontroller board system for use with the NanoRacks modular experiment system. The ArduLab will have simple measuring instruments (temperature, acceleration) to demonstrate the utility of the ArduLab system for future experimental use. Data from the ArduLab will be downlinked for analysis.

NanoRacks ArduLab-1 is a 1.5U format NanoRacks Module and is approximately 100 x 100 x 150 mm in size, weighs approximately 1.5 kg. It plugs into a NanoRacks Platform-1 or -2 and will be powered via a USB port. NanoRacks ArduLab-1 will collect temperature and acceleration data and store it for eventual transmission to Earth via the NanoRacks Platform/STELLA communication system. The purpose of the experiment is a tech demo.

Operational Requirements

Ease of use through a web-interface and intuitive User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) through careful design are a major part of enabling the primary investigation objective. A complex chain of software is established for NanoRacks-ArduSat-2. Starting with low-level assembly code to control some of the sensors, C/C++(programming language) for the majority of on-board software and the control of the radio equipment on the CubeSat and on the ground and higher-level languages like Ruby on Rails, SQL and Python (programming languages) are integrated to form one seamless software-architecture.

On the hardware side, consumer-off-the-shelf (COTS) sensors like magnetometers, accelerometers, gyros and temperature sensors are connected via an augmented Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C) protocol with more complex, yet still off-the-shelf sensors like Geiger counters, a camera and spectrometer and VHF radio beacon receiver.

Selection criteria and know-how with regards to earth-rated sensors, microprocessors and materials which are mass-produced and hence cheap yet can be used in space for specific and limited applications, allow for dramatically cheaper space missions in the future by taking advantage of the low cost due to mass production on earth.

The microprocessor payload consists of a number of Atmel chips which communicate with a supervisor processor via a proprietary communication protocol which provides very fine control over the individual computational nodes of the payload. The majority of the bus-components are standard spaceflight hardware with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 9 or 8.


Space Applications

Lowering costs for satellites in low Earth orbit, including Pico-, Nano- and Microsatellites, provides significant benefits for space-based research and educational programs. Information about which terrestrial sensors, processors and materials might be best suited for use in space helps space programs and private companies develop more inexpensive Earth-observing satellites.

Read more at www.infinityaerospace.io

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