Bringing Space to oregon

OreSat is a 2U CubeSat that will be deployed into low earth orbit (LEO) from the International Space Station (ISS) in early spring 2022. It is the OreSat Project's flagship satellite, with two independent missions that we're extremely excited about.

OreSat was accepted into the 2017 NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI), which gives educational CubeSats a free ride to space. As of Fall 2020, we're currently working with NASA CSLI and NanoRacks on the details of our ride off the planet.

Mission 1: OreSat live
(Oregon's very own 400 km long selfie stick)

We wanted to bring a space-based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) outreach to the entire state of Oregon. Something fun. We like taking selfies. Kids like selfies. So, uh, how about a selfie? But live? From space?

Here's how it works:

Kids build a ground station

High school students will build a hand-held receiver. They can build it from scratch (it is open source after all!) or they can buy a kit being hosted by our partners at Crowd Supply. It should only take a few hours to build from a kit. It's a WiFi receiver, a small computer with a WiFi transmitter, an helical antenna, and some radio chips from our friends at Qorvo. And no, you don't actually need a hard hat to build the ground station. But you know: safety first.

We coordinate a place and time

Kids tell us where they are in Oregon. We tell them when the satellite is going to pass overhead. They choose a time, and we've got a date. With space. Which, frankly, is terrible. You don't want a date with space. Trust us.

oresat points and streams

OreSat will be hurtling at 8 km/s (17,000 mph) around the planet. As it comes over Oregon, OreSat points at the kids, turns on a camera, and starts transmitting video and data directly to the kids.

Kids get live video from space

The kids use their cell phones to point their receiver at OreSat above them. The receiver gets the video and sends it to a local cell phone or laptop. And voila! Video, from space, right on your phone. Of your city, your school, your house, whever you are in Oregon. Pretty cool, huh? We think so, too.

So... how does it work? We won't bore you with the details, but just know that while you can't get WiFi in your basement... we can get from space. Yep. WiFi. From space. A terrible idea, until you realize that it actually works. Here are some highlights, but of course, it's all open source, so you can get all the details you want!

The hand-held receiver is a work in progress. Find out details here.

DxWiFi is our long distance WiFi project. Our record so far: 125 km. Find out details here.

OreSat needs its own helical antenna, just like the hand-held receiver. Find out details here.

Don't want wait for until Spring 2022? Build your own high-altitude balloon version of OreSat and get your own video!

Mission 2: Cirrus Flux Camera
(Cirrus cloud science Ftw)

Cirrus clouds

We don't know a lot about cirrus clouds. They're hard to see, especially from satellites. But they're really important for global climate models; cirrus clouds let visible light from the sun through, which heats up the Earth. The Earth radiates this heat as infrared radiation, but cirrus clouds reflect this heat back down to Earth. So the total coverage of cirrus clouds really, really affects climate models.

The mission of OreSat's "Cirrus Flux Camera" is to help map the global distribution of cirrus clouds using a special camera that sees short wave infrared light. This is an extremely challenging project, so we've enrolled our collegues at the Laboratory for Aerosol and Cloud Optics (LACO) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at the University College London (UCL) to help us out!

SWIR Camera

It's not science unless you have a huge bulky, power hungry science instrument on your satellite! OK, this is possibly one of the smallest SWIR cameras to fly in space, but it's huge for us. Find out more in our mechanical CAD!

Identifying Cirrus Clouds

There's a lot of image processing to take a SWIR image (like this one from the NASA MODIS instrument on the Terra spacecraft) and identify the cirrus clouds. More on these algorithms coming soon from our image processing partners at UMBC and UCL!

2016 CubeSat Launch Intiative (CSLI) Proposal

Although a lot of the content is outdated, you can find out more about how the OreSat mission started and what are goals are in our NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) proposal.

Side profile of OreSat 1

The OreSat Bus

Every satellite has mission (or "payload") hardware, and then the plain-old-boring hardware that runs the satellite. Like solar panels, and batteries, and radios, and computers. And the physical structure. These are all called the satellite "bus". The OreSat bus is a hand-crafted bus specifically aimed at educational satellites. It's a card-cage design, so teams of students can work independently on different cards, where each card is a subsystem. It's open source, scalable from 1U to 3U, and has lots of other buzzwords associated with it! Find more buzzwords on our technology page!

OreSat Block Diagram

There's a lot we've crammed into our little breadloaf-sized satellite. You can also see the CubeSat Subsystems page for some introduction to the subsystems, and why we need them.