S&TR Preview: Space Program Innovation, One Small Satellite at a Time

What we have here is a small satellite called a CubeSat And this was built as a collaboration between Lawrence Livermore National Lab and NASA Goddard and the primary mission is to monitor greenhouse gases like methane or carbon dioxide from space using such a small platform. CubeSat is a small satellite that was developed about 10 years ago. It was easily Intended to give cheap access to space to students both in college and high school and What’s good about CubeSat is that if they have a standard size and they can go into the standard dispensers basically, there’s a lot less oversight to launch it at low cost and Makes it a lot a lot easier to actually experiment in space LLNL’s role in this particular spacecraft has been to actually construct what’s called a bus? Which is the the main part that does all the day-to-day? activity by the spacecraft by charging Where it is and orienting itself. This is exciting for Livermore because that’s the first time they were actually building the bus in previous small satellite work You might be more focused on using that for the payload if you actually pass on that commercially So this spacecraft is called MiniCarb here CubeSat actually based on standard units are about 10 by 10 by 10 centimeters. You can see in this picture case It’s called a six unit CubeSat While it looks small it actually contains all the components and a big spacecraft for that we can see here We have the two solar panels Here you have the radio over here You have the altitude determination control system which actually is able to orient the spacecraft using the inertia of Built in reaction wheels, it also has a lot of sensors for magnetic field measurements and send position measurements here You have the GPS system Because the orbit of the spacecraft is going to be below the constellation of the GPS satellites It’s actually able to use that system to know exactly where it is in orbit over here You have the power system which contains batteries and then here this is where the science happens this is the instrument and that was delivered by NASA Goddard which is able to measure the concentration of Greenhouse gases by actually using the sunlight as it goes through the atmosphere MiniCarb for Lawrence Livermore is actually Exciting because it’s a way for us to develop a platform that we can really use to do a lot of research for future payload in this particular case we are using a payload from NASA but it gives us the capabilities to actually fly here material by Lawrence Livermore and address a lot of needs from various agencies in the country and actually try to read of Important problems using very small platform at a very low

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