The PolySat and CubeSat team visited Vandenberg Air Force Base this morning to watch the launch of Exocube on a Delta 2 rocket. Unfortunately the launch attempt was scrubbed. The next attempt is on Friday 30th 2015.
Cal Poly’s third ground station Friis is coming together after significant work by the PolySat lab.
Friis will be able to track LEO satellites and operates at 437MHz and will be capable of achieving significantly higher data rates than Cal Poly’s other two ground stations Marconi and Hertz. The radio transceiver and the the controller processor are identical to the ones on IPEX and ExoCube, the difference is the amplifier on the transmit size will be able to do about 400 watts out through four phased yagi antennas.
Wednesday October 15th, NASA JPL hosted an event to celebrating the Cal Poly and JPL partnership. CubeSat and PolySat received much recognition.
Cal Poly’s President Jeffrey Armstrong and the Engineering Dean Debra Larson sat on a panel with JPL to answer questions regarding the CubeSat/PolySat programs and the JPL partnership.
The IPEX team was chosen for a group achievement award from NASA. Thank you everyone for the hard work that went into that mission and the continued work of operating it.
ExoCube has been delivered!
The ExoCube (CP10) flight model pictured below was delivered to CubeSat for the ELaNa X mission with SMAP. The PPOD with the integrated satellite has passed acceptance testing and will soon be mounted to the rocket. SMAP will launch in a few months from Vandenberg Air Force Base atop a Delta II.
Exocube is a combined effort of Scientific Solutions, Cal Poly, NASA Goddard, The National Science Foundation, University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin.
ExoCube will characterize [O], [H], [He], [N2], [O+], [H+], [He+], [NO+], and total ion density by taking in-situ measurements within the exosphere, while taking particular interest in orbital locations above various radio observatories. ExoCube uses an active control system to point itself in the desired direction for measurements, and uses passive control to maintain this orientation.
In order to better communicate with our spacecraft we are building our third ground station on the Cal Poly campus. This new ground station will feature quad phased yagi antennas with ability to transmit up to 1.5KW. The new system will be using the Cal Poly developed systemboard as our radio. It will also feature automatic pass operations. We recently began construction of the new groundstation on the roof of building 192 with hopes of finishing by the end of the summer.
A particularly exciting and educational aspect of PolySat’s comprehensive production process is the design and in-house manufacturing of various structural components. ExoCube, PolySat’s most recent project, implements a modification of the flight-proven and student-designed HyperCube structure that was recently flown as a 1U form-factor for the IPEX mission. To increase educational benefits and expand the technical capabilities of the PolySat lab, many of the components used within the ExoCube mechanical structure have been manufactured by PolySat students using Cal Poly‘s on-campus machine shops. For the past several months, the ExoCube mechanical team has been working to finalize design and manufacturing, and we are excited to have finalized hardware that has been machined in recent weeks!
The PolySat team has been working diligently at continued improvements to the groundstation. Since the last post, we have downlinked several more images, and below are some of the best images yet!
A shot of the Hawaiian islands:
Beautiful clouds over the Pacific:
A frigid looking shot near the Pacific Rim:
All TLE images obtained using STK10
We will continue to post images as we receive them!
For the past several weeks following P-POD deployment, IPEX has been downlinking images to Cal Poly’s upgraded groundstation to verify that the imaging and communications systems are working as expected. We have recently received approval to release one of the first IPEX images captured post-deployment, and are excited to share with the community! This image was taken on December 6, 2013 at 11:05 UTC using the -Z camera while IPEX was traversing over the Australian coast, pointed southwest towards the terminator line.
The successful capture, storage, and downlink of the recent IPEX images represents an important milestone for PolySat’s technical and operational capabilities. IPEX is the first CubeSat to use PolySat’s new avionics suite, comprised of a variety of custom PCBs and a Tyvak Intrepid systemboard/comm board package. The timely and efficient downlink of one of IPEX’s high-resolution deployment images such as this one adequately verifies not only PolySat’s new avionics bus, but the recent upgrades to the Cal Poly ground station as well. We are excited to continue IPEX operations!
Obtained using STK10