This is the new definition of fun: building a satellite together and using it just like the satellites orbiting the Earth.
Not only it is surprisingly inspirational, it is also a social activity sparking creativity!
Kitsat is an educational satellite based on the popular CubeSat format, used by hundreds of universities. It is the core of the New Space movement that is changing the whole way of going to space, using the space technology and transforming also our daily lives.
Understanding this technology is vital in future and experimenting with is may help a new generation to better cope with the challenges ahead from fighting climate change to creating new space-based services.
Consisting of a fully functional, inexpensive satellite, small ground station and an educational package that can be also used remotely for E-learning, the Kitsat system can be used in all STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Ars and Mathematics) teaching. It is a multipurpose tool for everything from simple hands-on learning of the space technology basics to machine learning experiments, creative coding and hacking the satellite enclosure with an artistic eye.
The satellite is not spaceworthy, but a prototype has been tested on a stratospheric flight. This near-space experience is the most challenging one of the proposed space mission simulation concepts included in the Kitsat educational package.
The idea comes from the educational programme of the Suomi 100 satellite projects. The most popular part of it was a Space Truck, a small space-themed science centre that was built inside an exhibition truck. During its tour around Finland in 2017 the school children and other visitors built a rough copy of the satellite – and this activity turned out to be extremely popular and fun. Therefore after the tour the idea was developed further and spiced with the Finnish highly ranked educational system added with some smart New Space engineering.
As the science and technology is nowadays – and increasingly in the future - teamwork, the educational activities around the Kitsat are highlighting teams and shared responsibilites.
The Kitsat is currently being tested (also by Heureka Science Centre) and it will be officially released later in 2019.
The concept has already now won the Quality Innovation Prize 2018 by Finnish Quality Association and has been selected for the world finals. The Kitsat team also won the World Challenge Finland 2018 Hackathlon and was awarded with a flight to the International Space Station.
In February 2019 Kitsat was selected to European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre.
Simple and inexpensive
KitSat has all functioning satellite subsystems, such as Electrical Power System (EPS) charging from solar panels or USB connector, Attitude Determination System (ADS), On-Board Computer (OBC) as the central information processing unit, radio module for telecommanding and telemetry, and payload instruments for autonomous observation.The computer of the Kitsat is based on 32-bit ARM microarchitecture, similar to modern mobile phones. It has 512 KB flash memory, which is more than enough for normal use.
The Kitsat has a full suite of sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, GPS, temperature and air pressure. Additionally it has also an air quality sensor. It has also free space in the body for the additional "scientific" sensors like magnetometer or radiation detector.
The satellite has also a camera that can be used also for near infra red observations – making simple remote sensing demonstrations also possible.
The radio transreceiver (as it is delivered) can be used without a radio licence. The output power can be increased for longer distance operations (up to 1500 km), but then a special licence for amateur radio station has to be applied from the local radio communications authorities.
It is delivered with a ground segment unit for realistic satellite operation simulation.
The satellite has heritage from Aalto Satellites and the Suomi100 satellite, and a prototype of the satellite was sent up to the stratosphere with a weather balloon in November 2017.
This atmospheric experiment was virtually as a 'proof of implementation' for our product concept.