Project Title: Commercial-off-the-Shelf Infrastructure for a 1U CubeSat

Raytheon logoTeam 15065 Members:
Benjamin Bossler, mechanical engineering
Reed Hubbell, mechanical engineering
Alfie Tsang, systems engineering
Dean Whitman, aerospace engineering
Kaitlyn Williams, optical sciences and engineering
Steven Wirth, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Raytheon Missile Systems

Sending sensors to space at lower cost

Team 15065

A standard space-ready CubeSat microsatellite measures 10 centimeters on each side, fits in the palm of your hand and costs roughly $40,000.

Sponsored by Raytheon Missile Systems, Team 15065 is designing a CubeSat that costs less than $5,000 and uses off-the-shelf components. One of the novel features of the low-cost satellite is that its frame is manufactured using 3-D printing and appropriate resins.

The redesigned CubeSat will be used to take environmental measurements in space.

“We are creating a satellite with parts that anyone can buy online,” said Alfie Tsang, systems test lead.

These parts include a memory chip, a microcontroller, a temperature sensor, a transceiver, a signal modulator and solar panels.

The technology inside the satellite must survive harsh launch conditions and extreme temperatures while running for up to 24 hours without power and engaging in risky interactions with space junk.

The team started out with a standard solid-printed CubeSat provided by the sponsor as an example. In addition to funding the project, Raytheon Missile Systems has provided 3-D printing services to the team.

“We are very fortunate that we can get our parts printed through our sponsor with a one-day turnaround,” said team lead Kaitlyn Williams. “This allowed us to rapidly perfect our mechanical structures while assembling our CubeSat.”

The team assembled their CubeSat in April and verified that it met all system design goals. They will display their prototype at Engineering Design Day 2016 on May 3.