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CAD drawing of ArduSat
Mission typeCitizen science
OperatorNanoSatisfi LLC
COSPAR ID Edit this at Wikidata
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type1U CubeSat
Launch mass1 kilogram (2.2 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date3 August 2013, 19:48:46 (2013-08-03UTC19:48:46Z) UTC
Launch siteTanegashima Y2
ContractorJAXA, NanoRacks
Deployed fromISS
Deployment date19 November 2013, 12:18:00 (2013-11-19UTC12:18Z) UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth

ArduSat is an Arduino based nanosatellite, based on the CubeSat standard. It contains a set of Arduino boards and sensors. The general public will be allowed to use these Arduinos and sensors for their own creative purposes while they are in space.[1]

ArduSat is created by NanoSatisfi LLC, an aerospace company which in the words of Phil Plait[2] has "the goal to democratize access to space" and was founded by 4 graduate students from the International Space University in 2012.

ArduSat is the first satellite which will provide such open access to the general public to space.[3] It is one of several crowdfunded satellites launched during the 2010s.[4]

Timeline of the project[edit]

Aug. 9, 2013 - The International Space Station's Canadarm2 grapples the unpiloted Japanese "Kounotori" H2 Transfer Vehicle-4 (HTV-4) as it approaches the station, carrying ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X among 3.6 tons of science experiments.
The Japanese Experiment Module Kibo laboratory and Exposed Facility, from which the CubeSats are launched via the ISS.
ArduSat-1, ArduSat-X and PicoDragon photographed from the ISS after their launch on Nov. 19, 2013.
Date Event
June 15, 2012 Launch of the ArduSat crowdfunding campaign on KickStarter. The goal was to obtain $35000 in funding.
July 15, 2012 After 30 days of campaign, the project obtained a total pledge of $106330, from 676 "backers".
August, 2012 Design of the ArduSat payload prototype.[5]
October 27, 2012 High-altitude test of the ArduSat payload prototype.[6] "The ArduSat payload prototype was carried to 85,000 feet on a high-altitude balloon. During the flight, which took a little over two hours, the payload ran sample programs, ran tests on the sensors, and even snapped some pictures in the upper stratosphere."[7]
November 20, 2012 An agreement is signed between NanoSatisfi and NanoRacks for the deployment of the first two small satellites under the ArduSat program via the NASA and the JAXA, one in summer 2013, the other in fall 2013. That makes ArduSat "the first U.S. Commercial Satellite Deployment from the International Space Station"[8]
December 2012 Design of "an engineering model of the satellite with flight-hardware equivalent components".[5]
April 20–21, 2013 ArduSat is placed as a challenge in NASA's International Space Apps Challenge. The objective of the challenge is to extend the functionality of the ArduSat platform, presented as "an open satellite platform offering on-demand access to Space". 22 projects were submitted to the ArduSat Challenge.
May 14, 2013 Release of the first version of the ArduSatSDK on GitHub. This SDK is made available for the general public to propose and develop experiments for the ArduSat platform.
May–July 2013 Assembly and testing of the final version of ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X.[5]
August 3, 2013 Launch of the ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X aboard Kounotori 4 by the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 4 from Y2 in Japan, at 19:48:46 UTC[9]
August 9, 2013 The Kounotori 4 (HTV-4) is captured by the ISS' robotic arm Canadarm 2 at 11:22 UTC, led towards a ready-to-latch position on the earth-facing port of the Harmony node, and finally installed on its berthing port at 18:38 UTC.[10][11]
Aug. 30 - Sept. 3, 2013 Along with the cargo contained in the HTV-4 Pressurized Logistics Carrier (PLC),[12] ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X are transferred into the ISS.[13]
Nov. 15, 2013 Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins installs the Japanese Experiment Module Small Satellite Orbital Deployer on the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform.[14]
Nov. 19, 2013 ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X are launched from the Kibo Experiment Module's Exposed Facility, (along with the PicoDragon CubeSat). Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata uses the lab's airlock table to pass the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform outside to Kibo's Exposed Facility. The Japanese robotic arm then unberthes the platform from the Small Fine Arm airlock attach mechanism and maneuvers it into position to release the satellites.[15][16]
Apr. 15, 2014 ArduSat X re-entered the atmosphere
Apr. 16, 2014 ArduSat 1 re-entered the atmosphere

Technical features[edit]

ArduSat-1 & ArduSat-X[edit]

The ArduSat project currently consists in two identical satellites: ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X.

Category Specifications
General Architecture 1U CubeSat : the satellites implements the standard 10×10×10 cm basic CubeSat architecture.
Computing features Arduino-based : The ArduSat is equipped with 16 processor nodes (ATmega328P) and 1 supervisor node (ATmega2561) (see [17] for features). The processor nodes are dedicated to the computing of the experiments (each on one node), the supervisor uploads the code to the processor nodes.
Sensors The Arduino processors may sample data from the following sensors  :
  • one digital 3-axis magnetometer (MAG3110)
  • one digital 3-axis gyroscope (ITG-3200)
  • one 3-axis accelerometer (ADXL345)
  • one infrared temperature sensor with a wide sensing range (MLX90614)
  • four digital temperature sensors (TMP102) : 2 in the payload, 2 on the bottomplate
  • two luminosity sensor (TSL2561) covering both infrared and visible light : 1 on the bottomplate camera, 1 on the bottomplate slit
  • two geiger counter tubes (LND 716)
  • one optical spectrometer (Spectruino)
  • one 1.3MP camera (C439)
Coding The experiments for ArduSat are developed in C/C++ for AVR/Arduino, using the ArduSatSDK.
Communication ArduSat is equipped with a half-duplex UHF transceiver, operating in the 435–438 MHz amateur radio satellite band. It implements Forward Error Correction (FEC) and Viterbi coding based on the CCSDS standards.[18]
  • ArduSat-1 : 437.325 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink
  • ArduSat-X : 437.345 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink

Both satellites have a Morse beacon (FM-modulated 800 Hz tones) that is transmitted at 20 WPM every two or three minutes on 437.000 MHz. The beacon will be structured in the following format:[19]

  • ArduSat-1 beacon: Battery voltage (uint16_t), RX_counter (number of received valid data packets, uint32_t), TX_counter (number of sent valid data packets, uint32_t), "WG9XFC-1″
  • ArduSat-X beacon: Battery voltage (uint16_t), RX_counter (number of received valid data packets, uint32_t), TX_counter (number of sent valid data packets, uint32_t), "WG9XFC-X"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Evan, Ackerman (2012-06-15). "ArduSat: a real satellite mission that you can be a part of". DVICE. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  2. ^ Plait, Phil. "KickStart your way to an experiment in space". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  3. ^ AMSAT. "ArduSat Arduino CubeSat". AMSAT UK. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  4. ^ Reyes, Matthew (7 April 2014). "DIY Satellites: Now and Near Future | Make". Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  5. ^ a b c These events have been recontructed from different posts on the ArduSat KickStarter updates wall
  6. ^ "SparkFun Box in (Near) SPAAAAACE!". SparkFun. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  7. ^ "Balloons, TVACs, and Shipping –Oh my!". Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  8. ^ "ArduSat Selects NanoRacks for ISS Satellite Deployment". SpaceREF. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  9. ^ "Launch Result of H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI4" (HTV4) by H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 4". JAXA. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  10. ^ "Successful berthing of the H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI 4" (HTV4) to the International Space Station (ISS)". JAXA. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  11. ^ "Japanese Cargo Craft Captured, Berthed to Station". NASA. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  12. ^ "HTV-4 Mission payload description". JAXA. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  13. ^ "HTV-4 Mission schedule". JAXA. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  14. ^ "Expedition 38 Wraps Up First Week on Station". NASA. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  15. ^ "Expedition 38 Prepares Japanese Lab for Cubesat Deployment". NASA. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  16. ^ "Crew Deploys Tiny Satellites and Tests Spacesuit Repairs". NASA. Retrieved 2013-11-20.
  17. ^ "ArduSat Payload Processor Module". freetronics. 2013.
  18. ^ "ArduSat Arduino CubeSat Technical Details". AMSat-UK. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  19. ^ "Help Track Ardusat-1/X!". NanoSatisfi. Archived from the original on 2013-12-08. Retrieved 2013-11-19.

External links[edit]