As pico and nanosatellites gain popularity with space educators and institutions, Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) have collaborated together to build STRaND-1, a nanosatellite based on the 3U-CubeSat standard due for launch into low Earth orbit (LEO) on 25 Feb 2013 with ISRO's PSLV rocket.
The aim of STRaND, or ‘Surrey Training Research and Nanosatellite Demonstration’ programme, is:
- To provide rapid hands-on training experience for academics and less experienced engineers at both centres in designing and building new satellite technologies,
- To challenge the current industry standard development processes and discover new ways of managing developments, and
- To demonstrate novel space technologies or the use of existing but modern terrestrial commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies in space.
Since 2010, the collective SSC and SSTL team of researchers and engineers have worked with challenging mission requirements through to the final system design and build. STRaND-1 include a COTS high performance computer, a modern smart-phone with Android operating system, and a novel electric propulsion system. Many custom parts were designed to accommodate a new 3-axis stabilised attitude/orbit control system (AOCS) of micro-wheels, micro-magnetorquer rods, Sun/Earth sensors together with a bespoke payload bay for non-CubeSat standard boards.
With any project, it takes a lot of people and effort. Many thanks go to our SSTL friends but also the SSC Team: Brian Yeomans, Claudio Iacopino, Mamatha Maheshwarrapa, Ed Simons, Theo Theodorou, Lourens Visagie, Dr Tom Frame and Dr Peter Shaw. Further thanks go to all the academic and support staff for their internal support.