Years in the Making ...
In 2000, we were assisting students at Stanford University and Santa Clara University on how to use our Salvo RTOS embedded software on microcontrollers destined for microsatellite missions. As time went on and the CubeSat standard for picosatellites gained acceptance, we were gradually persuaded that a comprehensive, off-the-shelf CubeSat kit could greatly improve each mission's chances for an on-time launch and a successful mission. Thus the CubeSat Kit was born.
Our goals for the CubeSat Kit seemed simple at the time:
- It must conform completely to the CubeSat specification.
- Its structure should exhibit high strength via careful design and choice of materials.
- It should be easy to program.
- For the sake of its payload, its interior volume should be maximized and its mass minimized.
- As few fasteners as possible should be used.
- It should exhibit extremely low-power operation (<20mW) using a single-chip RISC MCU.
- It should support pluggable modules.
- Its modules should connect to each other without the use of cables.
- It should be able to accept PC/104 cards.
- It should support an integrated wireless transceiver and a USB interface.
- It should have a versatile electrical backplane.
- It should have excellent electrical shielding and thermal attributes.
- It should support scalability to larger (1.5U, 2U & 3U) and smaller (0.5U) CubeSat form factors.
- It should be available off-the-shelf at an affordable price.
Additionally, we realized that if we were to offer an integrated hardware and software development environment as part of the kit, users could develop the mission-specific components without working inside the constraints of a physical CubeSat.
With input from several advisors — including some of the original CubeSat design team — and after four major design revisions (it wasn't so easy after all ...), we delivered the first three production CubeStat Kits to our first commercial customer in Q4 2003. As you can see from our original proposal, the CubeSat Kit has evolved into a very powerful and versatile design that meets the needs of a wide range of picosatellite missions.
With a CubeSat Kit, you design, develop and test your modular mission-specific subsystems and software on the included Development Board. Once you've completed your CubeSat in the lab, you simply unplug your modules from the Development Board and move them over to the Flight Model. Then download your software into the Flight MCU. Attach your solar cells and antenna, and you're ready to launch!
We invite you to learn more about the professionally designed and SolidWorks®-modelled CubeSat Kit through the resources on this website, and by contacting us directly.
The CubeSat Kit is made in U.S.A.