Grant: Development of Universal Small Satellite Platform for Near-Space and Suborbital Space Applications

Grant Date: August 2021
Amount: $17,300

CubeSats are inexpensive, small satellite platforms which can be used for both suborbital and orbital applications. Although the barriers to space are lowering with decreasing costs and increasing launch opportunities, getting a CubeSat into orbit is still a multi-year effort costing $50,000 to $100,000. Although an inspirational goal, this is beyond the means of most universities and researchers.

Suborbital flights (at an altitude of about 100 kilometers) are an easier way for researchers to send homebuilt satellites into a space environment. These satellites still experience microgravity, extreme temperature, radiation exposure, and other factors that are key for space mission experiments. It’s a good destination for universities with lower budgets to conduct research and grow our knowledge of space science. For example, biological microgravity experiments involve sending up microorganisms and observing how they are affected by the harsh conditions of space.

Paradox Sonic Space Research Agency (PSSR) saw an opportunity to develop an open-source, universal small satellite platform within a single unit cube-satellite standard, weighing less than 1 kilogram, which could be used as a baseline to carry out suborbital space missions. They will develop a nano-satellite with all the basic satellite subsystems and a Plug-and-Play (PnP) port installed for integrating additional experiments or payloads without any hardware modifications.

ARDC has granted funds to this project to develop the satellite platform and cover the costs of the suborbital launch in 2022.

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