NanoRacks-Λ-Sat Hellenic Satellite (NanoRacks-Λ-Sat ) - 09.26.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

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NanoRacks-Λ-Sat Hellenic Satellite (NanoRacks-Λ-Sat) 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.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Periklis Papadopoulos, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer

Principal Investigator(s)
Periklis Papadopoulos, Ph.D., Hellenic Space Initiative, Santa Clara, CA, United States

Information Pending

University of the Aegean, Greece
University of the Peloponnese, Greece
Columbia University, New York, NY, United States
San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, United States
Lowell Center for Space Science and Technology, Lowell, MA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - March 2015

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  •  NanoRacks-Λ-Sat Hellenic Satellite (NanoRacks-Λ-Sat) is the first-ever Hellenic satellite designed and built by Greek scientists.
  • NanoRacks-Λ-Sat demonstrates the first of-its kind space qualification of the nanotechnology material “Graphene” and its direct exposure to solar radiation and extreme space environments.
  • NanoRacks-Λ-Sat aims to 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.
  • NanoRacks-Λ-Sat address 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.  NanoRacks-Λ-Sat, 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.  A custom designed power system and main computer, built to meet three-fault tolerant space qualification requirements, operate all NanoRacks-Λ-Sat electronics.  Following successful deployment of the NanoRacks-Λ-Sat, communications are established by means of the stensat, to downlink the Graphene experimental data.  The iridium communication platform is also enabled to transmit and collect the Automatic Identification System (AIS) data form the commercial ships globally.  The NanoRacks-Λ-Sat orbital lifetime is calculated to be approximately 174 days after launch; designed to de-orbit (as required by orbital debris requirements) and disintegrate during reentry at the end-of-life of its mission.

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Space Applications
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.

Earth Applications
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.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Not applicable.
NanoRacks CubeSats are delivered to the ISS already integrated within a NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD). A crewmember transfers each NRCSD from the launch vehicle to the JEM.  Visual inspection for damage to each NRCSD is performed.  When CubeSat deployment operations begin, the NRCSDs 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 (JRMS) – to grapple and position for deployment. CubeSats are deployed when JAXA ground controllers command a specific NRCSD.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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image NanoRacks-Λ-Sat Hellenic Satellite (NanoRacks-Λ-Sat) in stowed position.  Image courtesy of Periklis Papadopoulos.
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image NanoRacks-Λ-Sat Hellenic Satellite (NanoRacks-Λ-Sat) in deployed position.  Image courtesy of Periklis Papadopoulos.
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image NanoRacks-Λ-Sat Hellenic Satellite (NanoRacks-Λ-Sat) exposed graphene experiment. Image courtesy of Periklis Papadopoulos.
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image NanoRacks-Λ-Sat Hellenic Satellite (NanoRacks-Λ-Sat) thermal energy storage (TES) solar panels. Image courtesy of Periklis Papadopoulos.
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