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Filmed during breaks at the jam-packed Emerging Commercial Applications for Small Satellites conference, astronaut Jim Newman and entrepreneur Tomas Svitak talk about their work the commercial future of small satellites. From telescope platforms (stay tuned) to space tugs, there are many, many potential uses for these diminutive spacecraft.
Complete with picture, Odyssey Moon has unveiled a miniature greenhouse prototype that could fly on its "Google Lunar X PRIZE lander and grow a flower". Key question: how will Arabidopsis grow in 1/6 gravity?
Robert Z, Space Flight Laboratory, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, is up.
Programs include MOST, an astronomy satellite, the CanX series, and NTS - nanosat tracking of ships. NTS is passively magnetically stabilized.
MOST fixes on starts to gauge characteristics of the stars. It's pointing capability is impressive. Now imaging about 30 stars at a time.
CanX2 is a 3U with propulsion system experiment - it's not designed to change orbit.
He describesthe launch campaign, which uses Indian PLLV-C9. Space Flight Laboratory can act a flight facilitator and he invites other flyers. As for ITAR, if Canada sends technology to the states, restrictions are much less onerous.
He points out that XPOD and PPOD will accept any standard CubeSat.
Their sats employ S-band and UHF ground stations. The S-band is networked to other locations.
CanX-2 and CanX-6 are one month away from one year anniversary on orbit.
Nanosat space astronomy mission, BRight Target Explorer (CanX-3) uses nanosatellite star tracker developed in Canada to contribute to BRITE is only 6Kg. MOST is 53Kg.
CanX 4 and 5 will employ formation flying, which could enable stereo imaging, among other technical achievements. They will employ intersatellite communications and three axis attitude control. The bus developed for multi-missions is very versatile.
Have looked at generic nanosatellite missions to the moon and Mars.
Commercial future for these sats? Work left in miniaturization and power reduction technology. De-orbiting requirement, efficient propulsion systems needed.
Flight Laboratory, Funding comes from sixty percent foreign. No funding from university itself. That's it.
InterPlanetary Ventures, the Human Synergy Project, and Interorbital Systems have joined forces to become SYNERGY MOON, the newest team to enter the Google Lunar X PRIZE race to the Moon. With working groups in 15 countries, the SYNERGY MOON team actively promotes international cooperation in space exploration and development. SYNERGY MOON will use a lunar-direct launch of an Interorbital Systems’ modular NEPTUNE rocket to carry a lunar lander and at least one rover to the surface of the Moon before the end of 2012.
The venerable science magazine Nature has published a piece on Google Lunar X Prize competitor Odyssey Moon's plan to take Dutch spectrometer, "MoonShot", to the lunar surface. Pointing out the growth of commercial space, Nature writes that scientists wanting to do space science may now have another option if their respective governments don't happen to have plans to explore:
MoonShot was originally designed to look for organic compounds in the Martian soil using two different types of laser-based spectrometry. The version that will go to Mars on the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission has been cut back to include only a Raman spectrometer, which uses a laser beam to detect chemical signatures, including organic compounds, in surface samples. The version flying privately to the Moon, however, will also have a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer, which will scan the lunar soil and can detect heavy metals. "You shine the laser and just find out what's there," says Erik Laan, an engineer who helped build the instrument at TNO Science and Industry in Delft, the Netherlands.
Kentucky Space students, Richard Speck at Micro-Space has been posting regularly to the Google Lunar X-Prize forum on his efforts, many of which feature plenty of engineering details about getting a very, very small craft on the moon. His latest post is on cubesat (or similarly-sized craft) attitude control. Others have described Laser Interferometer capabilities developed by Micro-Space. Check them all out.