Flight Heritage, we want it

The original OreSat satellite is a huge mission for a first satellite, especially if you're building your own satellite system from scratch. Perhaps we should reference a speech about throwing your cap over a wall at this point.

Recently, in the middle of a pandemic you might have heard of, we received another opportunity to fly a CubeSat. This ride is a year earlier, for the Spring of 2021. There's no way our main satellite, OreSat, could be ready by then. But what if we built a small satellite, one that had the sole purpose to test all of our critical subsystems?

Meet OreSat0, a 1U CubeSat that will provide "Flight Heritage" to the OreSat system. "Flight heritage" is a fancy way of saying "hey our satellite doesn't catch fire when it flies in space!". When you're building a satellite system from scratch, proving your critical components in space before your main mission is an extremely good idea.

OreSat0 is a simple satellite: solar panels, batteries, radios, computer, and a star tracker. That's about it. But it will be a fantastic test of our systems, and it's slated to be Oregon's first satellite.

OreSat0 is scheduled for handoff to our launch provider on January 22, 2021, and to deployed in a sun synchronous low earth orbit in April of 2021.

Mission: do not catch fire in space

Countdown Timer for oresat.org website

OreSat0 will demonstrate the critical functionality of the OreSat System, including: solar boards, battery card, onboard computer (C3 card), engineering radio and telemetry system, over-the-air firmware and software updates, turnstile antenna deployer, and more.

In the block diagram below, all of the boxes highlighted in beige (taupe? sandstone? yellow lab? Colors are hard) are what we're flying in OreSat0.

OreSat0 actually fitting in a test CubeSat deployer.

The inside guts; lots of cards!

Battery card. This is the part that's not supposed to catch fire.

Star tracker card

Here's more formal list of the systems inside OreSat0:

  • 1U 6061 Aluminum frame, Type II anodized black.

  • 4x solar boards (2x Spectrolabs XTE GaAs cells on a board with MPPT), mounted around the 4 "side walls" of the frame.

  • +Z End Cap with 2x HMC3883A magnetomers.

  • Card 1: "+Z end card" with Triband turnstile antenna (UHF, L band, and S band), antenna deployer with melt resistors, 4x solar connectors, and +Z end cap connector

  • Card 2: C3 on-board computer with UHF transceiver, L band receiver, system watchdog, deployment circuitry

  • Card 3: SDR GPS receiver

  • Card 4: DxWiFi experiment

  • Card 5: Star tracker

  • Card 6: ACS card with IMU and circuitry to communicate with magnetometers

  • Card 7: battery card (2x 2S1P packs of 18650: 7.2Vnom @ 2.6 Ah = 19 Wh storage)

  • -Z End Cap with 2x HMC3883A magnetomers.

See the CubeSat Subsystems page for a description of the various subsystems.