PCBSat, Aalto-1 and classified space stuff
Light and strong aluminium honeycomb structure.

Light and very strong honeycomb structure. Made from sub-millimetre thickness aluminium.

So I finally found a document describing PCBSats. Basically the design is a fraction of CubeSat standard.  It was frustratingly hard to find document about satellites smaller than Cubesat. Its on address http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA486188&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf , Chapter 6 on page 98. It has in depth description of 1/4U PCBSat, so 25x100x100mm in size. Basically it has two PCBs with solar cells and one main PCB. One side of PCB is covered with necessary satellite schematics and other side of the board is for payload. All the free space and mass is filled with Aluminium (which, as I learned, is THE best radiation protection per kg). PCBSat seems finally something small enough to build one myself, open source it and kickstart it into the orbit. I already got couple of my friends interested in building an open source satellite. All I need is a payload.

Thin foil in between airtight cloth, for best thermal insulation.

Thin foil in between airtight cloth, for best thermal insulation.

Last week we visited Helsinki, Aalto-1 satellite builders. They are building first Finnish satellite, a 3U sized cubesat. Unfortunately they are buying most of it in from companies. So their Electrical Power Supply guys didn't know anything very interesting. Nevertheless we got to socialise with other student engineers and learn new things. Like antennas made out of tape measure. Seems like a hack, but it is an informal industry standard. As is burning fishing line with resistors to deploy the antennas and much more. Its so weird how much knowledge about satellites is out there, but none of it is shared with the world. I think that's awful, therefore I try to share as much knowledge as I can.

Space grade thermal insulator, probably made like the one on last picture.

Space grade thermal insulator, probably made like the one on last picture.

And finally, about the pictures. These are made from space materials and products that were brought from [censored]. Bunch of great ideas and awesome engineering, but yea, its still censored and classified.

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Posted on 2011-11-14, 09:13 By
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