The future of exploration | CubeSat

The year 1999 is the California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University develop a standard for nano satellites with the intention of helping universities around the world to carry out science projects, the goal is to allow the student to operate a satellite with capabilities similar to Sputnik.

Stanford University, faculty of systems development, the need for a satellite of minimum dimensions becomes visible, a year later Professor Jordi Puig-Suari and Robert Twiggs propose the design of what we would know as CubeSat, Twiggs inspired by boxes of Plastic dedicated to show toys in stores decides that the cubic design is the ideal to place solar panels and keep it in orbit with zero fuel consumption, it was the summer of 1999 when Twiggs presented the idea to Jordi Puig and in November of the same year in JUSTSATP Technolgy and Space Applications Program.

With dimensions of 10 x 10 x 10 and the ability to install any type of sensors, in June 2013 the first CubeSats are launched in a Eurockot of Russian origin, 5 years later a total of 75 had been put into orbit. The versatility of these instruments makes them ideal for observation projects, geographic measurement, climatology, communication in remote sites such as the Nanosat-1B whose function is to communicate the bases of Antarctica with the Hesperides vessel, the information collected by this nanosatélite is sent to the INTA control center in Torrejón, Spain.

Once in orbit it is necessary to stabilize the CubeSat, for this it uses several tools:

• Hysteresis bars: They are two bars made of a ferromagnetic material known as HYMU80 is an alloy of nickel, iron and molybdenum.

• Kalman filter: It is an algorithm used in space projects, introduced in the year of 1960 by the Hungarian scientist Rudolf Kalman, this filter calculates the state of a relative orientation system given the input and dynamics variables.

• Helmholtz cage: Its objective is to produce magnetic fields similar to those found in orbit, this magnetic field is controlled by current sources that allow electricity to be varied by each pair of coils.

What is a CubeSat for?

For what you want, well not so much, the main purpose is to help research in universities, or if you have a group that is dedicated to science you can also request one, among its main uses is:

• Obtaining atmospheric data.

• Geological analysis.

• Collection of images for mapping and signaling.

• Analysis of bacteria in the atmosphere.

• Measurement and calculations of the land (in case you think the land is not spherical).

• Transmission of communication and location data, very important for scientific missions.

IceCube, is another model of CubeSat or nano satellite, capable of observing ice particles, those that create rain clouds, this cubesat was equipped with a radiometer of submillimeter wavelength, which could make measurements in the space of small frozen crystals that form ice clouds.

In 2017 the IceCube created a global map of ice clouds around the planet, this technique will soon help improve models and predictions of long-term weather conditions.

Mars Cube One: Also known as MarCo was launched in May 2018 on a mission to fly over Mars are two NASA CubeSats its goal was to provide a communications link to Earth for InSight during the entry, descent and landing of critical missions each Once InSight is not visible from Earth, the journey took 7 months to reach the red planet, these two Cubesats acted as a relay to allow communication with the earth almost in real time, another advantage of these cubes is that they allow research highly focused, for example, the MinXSS is responsible for measuring the soft X-ray solar spectrum, this is done in the space of two RHESSI and IRIS missions, this space is also known as the gap region is of particular interest for observations of solar flares and active regions.

The HaloSat, on the other hand, will be in charge of examining the X-rays of oxygen atoms that surround our Milky Way in order to determine the amount of matter lost in the halo of our galaxy.