It’s been nearly 3 months since our last development update and we are pleased to come back with great exciting news! Make sure to follow us @FossaSys for daily updates on our development and advances!
Satellite Development and Testing
Since our last update, the satellite has undergone extensive testing in a wide range of environments. The main purpose of this was to validate the functionality of our different systems in space-like environments and to find flaws in our current designs. Seen below is one of the various deployment tests carried out in a vacuum chamber at our new laboratory and testing facilities in Madrid. In this case, the solar panel deployment mechanism is being released using a burn resistor which burns a nylon wire, thus releasing the torsion necessary to rotate the hinged solar arrays into place. This is carried out with a timer once the satellite is deployed into space.
Now that this preliminary testing phase is completed, we have started our V3 satellite design review. This consists in updating most of FossaSat-1’s sub-systems based on the flaws we have previously found. Although the changes are minimal, various hardware improvements have been implemented such as a new current sensor, a new LoRa TCXO communication system replacing the old temperature sensitive crystal, a slightly smaller overall size (0.6mm) in order to ensure proper deployer integration and a new solar panel configuration.
We are expecting the V3 engineering model of the satellite to be finished by the end of March, this will hopefully be our last development iteration. Once a final V3 engineering model is made, we will proceed to manufacture our final pair of flight rated satellites, ready for integration in early June.
We have also been working hard on determining the characteristics of our passive attitude stabilization system and have nearly finalized all calculations with the help of various members such as Rakesh Prajapati from ORION Space.
(Total Torque Calculations exerted on a pocketqube spacecraft)
CNC’d Satellite Parts
The first batch of prototype satellite brackets have kindly been milled by IES La FOIA, a Spanish secondary school specialized in machining courses. These brackets will be in charge of creating the fundamental structure of the satellite and absorbing all axial and lateral loads during launch, keeping our PCB assembly together.
As we have promised, our satellite hardware is finally here! Satellite ground stations and educational satellite development kits are finally available for purchase on our shop.
The educational satellite development kits are intended as an inclusive platform to learn and experiment with satellite sub-systems, it includes all the basic components of a satellite and can completely operate in the same manner. Although a better explanation of the kit is available on our shop, the kit mainly includes 4 modular development boards; Power Distribution Board, Telecommunications and Processing Board, GPS Board and Sensor breakout board.
The kit is based on the popular ATMEGA328P-AU Arduino platform and includes dozens of sensors and features, they are ideal for experimenting with the new LoRa modulation and carrying out weather balloon launches. We will soon be launching some from Madrid to test their telecommunication link capabilities.
Please note that at the time of posting this blog post the kits and ground stations are currently out of stock due to a variety of pre-orders, they should be back in stock within the following weeks.
Our LoRa Ground station development kits are also finally available for purchase on our shop, these are based on the SX1278 LoRa/FSK transceiver and are created to serve as a robust development and experimentation platform for testing the LoRa modulation. This small system will be able to transmit and receive packets from the FossaSat-1 satellite and can also be used as a gateway or node for experimenting with IoT systems.
All proceeds from the sales go towards funding our non-profit goals and getting FossaSat-1 into orbit!
We have recently designed a mission patch for the FossaSat-1 mission, this design is now up for sale on our shop in a 74mm vinyl sticker format. Just like our hardware, all proceeds from the sales go towards funding our non-profit goals and getting FossaSat-1 into orbit!
We have recently partnered with DiceyTech and will be providing them with educational content and custom satellite hardware for their educational workshops, bringing space even closer to our future generation of scientists and engineers!
We have also recently been working with local schools such as IES la FOIA where they are carrying out machining and structural classes in order to learn about picosatellite systems, we are slowing building up collaborations with other institutions in order to provide them with this educational material. Stay tuned for schools getting involved in our workshops!
We have been very busy with conferences and events in the previous months and have tons more to come! Two weeks ago we participated in the AEDAE (Spanish Association of Aerospace and Aeronautical Law) “Requisites for launching a satellite” conference. It was a great event with tons of interchanges and discussions, lots of future agreements and contacts made!
(Notice FossaSat-1 being held in the centre-left)
Last week we also participated in a live video conference with The Things Network community of Madrid, a community dedicated to the creating and maintenance of LoRa nodes and gateways for the IoT. The whole project and different satellite subsystems where explained in a close to 1-hour interview with Co-Founder Julian Fernandez, close to 20 people were watching the interview from a projection room in MediaLab Prado while about a dozen viewers tuned in live to watch the stream!
The interview is available below:
Our next planned conferences and events are:
9th March, Learning with TechFest, desk stand at La Nave Madrid startup community. Preview available at https://t3chfest.uc3m.es/2019/learn-with-t3chfest/?lang=en in the “community section”
15th March, ESA TechTalks Seminar, a brief 30m talk about the FossaSat-1 satellite and its purpose in the space industry, at the Madrid European Astronomy Center. (only open to ESA employees)
More to be announced in the next weeks!
We have finished producing our promotional videos for the FossaSat-1 mission, these are available in both Spanish and in English.
Satellite Request, ITU API/A
Our Advanced Publication Information for the FossaSat-1 satellite has been sent to the International Telecommunications Unions and will be published in the coming months. This will assure we are able to legally launch into space!