Flatsat + MDC + laptop groundstation

Take a satellite, and explodicate it into easily accessible pieces you can plug programmers and debugging equipment into, and you get a "flatsat". FlatSat is an integration and test platform for hardware, firmware, and software development. It's an entire satellite strung out on a table, ready to be poked at.

The MDC (Monitoring and Diagnotic Computer) acts to interface our FlatSat to the outside world. Students can SSH into the MDC and program, debug, and monitor boards and the OreSat bus the cards are connected to.

Finally, we have a local laptop plugged into some software-defined radios (SDRs) that act like a local ground station. We can send commands from the ground, update the firmware, turn systems on and off... all from the ground a few feet away from FlatSat which essentially thinks it's in space.

Status: Operational and in active use

Thermal vacuum chamber (TVAC)

We need to freeze, bake, and put the satellite in a vacuum. We do that in our TVAC chamber, which is a loaner from Dr. Sanchez in PSU Physics. Thank you Dr. Sanchez!!!

Status: Operational!

Vibration testing (vibe)

3 axis vibration and acceleration according to NASA specifications. Basically, strap satellite down and watch it shake itself to pieces. Don't forget the Loctite!

Thank you Chris from the local Tektronix Quality Lab who lets us occasionally come in and shake the living hell out of our satellite!

Status: Operational whenever Chris has time for us!

EMC testing

We can test antennas and EMC in PSU's amazing RF anechoic chamber.

Status: Operational!


A DIY Helmholtz "cage" of three (X,Y,Z) Helmholtz coils that precisely controls magnetic field vector inside. Used to test magnetometers and magnetorquers.

Status: Mostly operational. Needs some polishing of the UI software.

Source: oresat-helmholtz