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UNISAT-5, UNICubeSAT, EduSAT: three Italian projects in hands-on education

By F. Graziani, M.L.Battagliere, F. Piergentili and F. Santoni


The Group of Astrodynamics of the University of Roma “La Sapienza” (GAUSS) established, at the Scuola di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, the research and education program UNISAT, in which undergraduate, graduate and PhD students get the opportunity to gain hands on experience on small space missions. Four university satellites (UNISAT, UNISAT-2, UNISAT-3, UNISAT-4), have been designed, manufactured and launched every two years since 2000 in the framework of this program. The satellite UNISAT-3, launched on June 29th 2004, at present is still operative. On the basis of the previous experiences, GAUSS is developing three new projects in the field of educational satellite building: UNISAT-5, UNICubeSAT and EduSAT. UNISAT-5 prosecutes the UNISAT program: the satellite has the same system architecture of the previous UNISAT satellites; improvements are foreseen in the attitude stabilization system that will be based on gravity gradient effect and in the communication system, which will exploit S band. The boom tip mass (NARCISO) will be active and able to communicate with UNISAT-5: it will be used to catch images of the mother satellite from three meters of distance. UNICubeSAT is a nanosatellite, cubic shaped, weighting 1 kg. The challenge was to design a scaled version of UNISAT (UNICubeSAT) for hands-on education purposes. The UNICubeSAT has installed a renewed, small version of the Broglio drag balance for aeronomy studies. The third satellite, EduSAT, is under development. In this project, students from high school are involved to promote space education. The paper deals with these three projects. An overview of satellites main subsystems, mission profiles and key features of different experiments will be shown

Publisher: 'CICS.NOVA'
Year: 2008
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