Λ-Sat’s Hellenic Satellite is the first space-based experiment to study how the harsh radiation and vacuum of space affects graphene, a single-layer sheet of carbon atoms important in nanotechnology applications.
The satellite, the first to be designed and built by Greek scientists, also demonstrates a communications platform that monitors Greek merchant ships and their crews in real-time, aiming to improve maritime security and thwart piracy.and transmits data to Earth stations, transferring telemetry and other information:
- Mitigate risk to Hellenic ships and their crews from piracies at sea by demonstrating a communications platform that monitors, with real-time positioning, Hellenic merchant ships for maritime security.
- Space qualification of innovative advanced three-fault tolerant spacecraft hardware is also a goal of NanoRacks-Λ-Sat.
- Addresses Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) educational objectives.
During deployment all of the NanoRacks-Λ-Sat Hellenic Satellite (NanoRacks-Λ-Sat) electronics are turned off. Forty minutes past deployment into its in-space flight, an imbedded timer, activates satellite operations. Following deployment from the International Space Station (ISS), has an initial altitude varying between an estimated 413 km apogee and 381 km perigee with inclination of 51.6 degrees.
As a safety precaution, the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer containing the CubeSat is pointed behind the ISS and angled down 45 degrees, and ejected with a velocity of about 1 meter/second placing the CubeSat into a nearly circular orbit.
The NanoRacks-Λ-Sat communications platform consists of an Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD) modem that establishes in-space links with the Iridium constellation. In addition, it uses a UHF receiver and transmitter for up-linking commands and downlinking flight data.
Future semiconductors, the heart of computers and smartphones, could be made from graphene rather than silicon, which is approaching the limit in transistor miniaturization. Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms, and its structure produces unique two-dimensional transistor effects. It is also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. NanoRacks-Λ-Sat measures how graphene responds to solar radiation and the extreme temperature fluctuations of space.
Merchant ships carry 90 percent of the world’s cargo, but piracy is a major threat to the industry, representing an annual cost of $12 billion. NanoRacks-Λ-Sat contains an automatic identification system capable of tracking hijacked ships, enabling authorities to respond faster. The monitoring system also identifies typical traffic patterns and ship activities in areas at high risk of piracy.
Read more about the Hellenic Satellite.