CubeSat Mission to Advance Nano-Satellite Technology
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 16, 2007 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has completed the
first phase of its nano-satellite research and experimentation with the
successful conclusion of the CubeSat TestBed 1 (CSTB1) mission. The spacecraft,
launched April 17 from the Baikonur Cosmosdrome in Kazakhstan, accomplished 100
percent of its primary mission objectives.
Through experiments such as CSTB1, Boeing is evaluating a variety of
technologies, design elements, and attitude determination and control
approaches for future operational nano-satellites -- spacecraft weighing less
than 22 pounds (10 kg). Pico-satellites like CSTB1 weigh less than 3 pounds (1
With the tiny spacecraft still fully operational, the program is entering an
optional test phase to support additional experiments such as taking more
photographs using CubeSat's ultra-low power imager and evaluating
non-traditional attitude control algorithms.
"The extremely low cost and risk of CTSB1 allowed us to experiment with a range
of more radical design elements that wouldn't occur with a more traditional
program," said Scott MacGillivray, manager of Boeing Nano-Satellite Programs
and CSTB1 program manager. "Leveraging the experience gained from this mission
and its flight-validated design elements will enable us to explore new, more
capable designs to support emerging nano-satellite missions."
Boeing collected more than 500,000 sensor data points from the test bed during
the three-and-one-half-month mission and more than 1,650 orbits to date. Boeing
will correlate the data with simulations and ground testing, apply it to
development tools for future nano-satellites and assess the lifespan of several
commercial off-the-shelf parts used on the spacecraft.
"The technology demonstrated on CSTB1 fits well with the goals of our Advanced
Systems group," said Alex Lopez, vice-president, Boeing Advanced Network and
Space Systems. "In addition to nano-satellite applications, we can incorporate
components and design elements into larger spacecraft to reduce volume, mass
and power needs for the main spacecraft bus and increase resources available
for mission and payload needs."
CSTB1 features multi-functional side panels with a variety of embedded sensors,
a key design element of the compact, highly-integrated nano-satellite.
Future design work will increase spacecraft performance in attitude
determination knowledge and control accuracy, enable higher computational
throughput and communications bandwidth, and support a wide range of
specialized missions at which nano-satellites can excel.
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