NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 (NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1) - 09.17.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 is one of two Lithuanian CubeSats to be Lithuania's first satellites in space. Technology demonstrations developed on the open-source Arduino platform collect images of Earth from space, test solar cells for future satellites, and test an FM voice repeater to extend radio communication distances.
Science Results for Everyone
OpNom NanoRacks CubeSat Mission-1
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory (NL)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2013 - March 2014
Previous ISS Missions
- NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 studies FM Voice Repeater operation in Low Earth Orbit. Its key purpose is to extend the radio communication distance between two radio amateurs from several to several thousand kilometers.
- NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 examines a silicon based custom built solar cell. Successful demonstration of this technology will prove the feasibility of a lower cost solar cell application for nanosatellites.
- NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 tests redundant open source hardware and software based on different microcontroller architectures. The predominant use and successful demonstration of open source technology, such as Arduino, offers new ways to make space technology more affordable to general public.
- NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 takes pictures of the Earth and downlinks the data to a ground station network.
- NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 also tests various types of attitude sensors.
The nanosatellite NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 is a cube, with its sides 10 centimeters long, complying with the standard CubeSat design specifications. Four communication antennas are attached to the body of the satellite. The total mass of the body including the equipment within it is 1,090 kg. The satellite uses low cost open-source software and hardware for primary and secondary flight computers that control the payload consisting of an onboard VGA camera and FM Mode V/U Voice Repeater.
The primary flight computer is comprised of the following key components:
- ARM Cortex-M4F microcontroller
- PS-MPU-6000A MEMS motion sensor
- PS-MPU-9150A MEMS motion sensor
- L3GD20 MEMS three-axis digital output gyroscope
- HMC5883L three axes digital magnetometer
- MicroSD memory card.
The main payload is a FM mode V/U voice repeater. Its key purpose is to extend the radio communication distance between the two correspondents from several to several thousand kilometers. In the course of the NanoRacks-LituanicaSAT-1 mission, the stability, reliability and operation of the Lithuanian FM repeater is verified in space. The repeater also provides an opportunity for alternative communication with the satellite in case of the disruption of the main communications transceiver or the functioning of the radio beacon.
As the first space mission from Lithuania, NanoRacks-Lituanica-SAT-1 paves the way for future space exploration from the northern European nation. Technology demonstrations testing low-cost, open-source hardware and software also benefit the international small-satellite community. The mission tests a low-cost silicon-based solar cell to be used to power future nanosatellites.
Messages broadcast in the Lithuanian language inspire future generations of explorers in Lithuania and in other countries. Additionally, an FM voice repeater allows amateur and ham radio operators on Earth to establish direct communication with the satellite, providing a unique education and outreach opportunity.
NanoRacks CubeSats are delivered to the ISS already integrated within a NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCD). A crewmember transfers the CubeSat from the launch vehicle to the JEM. Visual inspection for damage to the NRCD unit is performed. When CubeSat operations begin, the NRCDs are unpacked, mounted on the JAXA Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) and placed on the JEM airlock slide table for transfer outside the ISS. A crewmember operates the JEM Remote Manipulating System (RMS) – grapple and position for deployment and CubeSats are deployed when JAXA ground controllers command a specific NRCSD.
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