Project of the first Slovak space satellite skCUBE
The satellite named as skCube will belong to a category of so-called cubesats, small satellites with cubed shape and size around 10x10x10 cm having weight of approximately 1 kg. The satellite will be equipped with radio receiver and sender, GPS receiver, system for determining the orientation in space and eventually a camera powered by foto-voltanic panels.
This project is essentially interdisciplinary: it will require special industry technologies and cooperation of experts not only from the field of electronics and informational technologies but also physics and mathematics. Estimated investment for development and construction of a cubesat can hit a level of around 30000 Euros. (see [1,3,6,7]), price for its launch into the orbit lays around 10000 Euros. But, such investments will be balanced many times in the future by contribution of the project into prestige and experience with real space technology.
Due to low costs for development and launch of cubesats, they are an ideal way for small countries or groups to gain experience with space missions. These projects are directly supported also by ESA within projects “ESA education”.
Fig.1: Vizualization of a cubesat Credit: ClydeSpace
Build and launch first Slovak satellite into the Earth’s orbit. Direct Slovak industry on a path of development and construction of space technologies. Support Slovak’s intentions to become a full member of European Space Agency. Motivate young people to study science, engineering and information technologies. Run scientific experiments on-board of the space satellite within activities of Slovak academia.
Predecessors of the skCube will be stratospheric balloons with their payloads (named Julo) as a part of our near-space project skBalloon designed and constructed by Slovak Organization for Space Activities SOSA (see ). During these flights we design and test individual systems for skCube.
2.1 skBalloon Julo 1
The first skBalloon is called Julo 1 after famous Slovak actor and entertainer Julius Satinsky. Its content with a parachute weight less then 1.3 kg and encompasses various detectors with a module providing telemetry back to the ground. The assembly team of Julo 1 met for the first time on 11th December 2009. Julo 1 launched on 10th of October 2010 from Partizánske Public Observatory in the middle-west of Slovakia and reached an altitude of around 25100 m. The flight duration was 138 minutes from 10:55 UT to 13:13 UT. The distance from lift-off position of Julo 1 to its landing site was 79.2 km.
2.2 skBalloon Julo 2
Currently we build and complete a second version of the skBalloon and its payload named Julo 2, where all critical systems like GPS and memory devices will be doubled. The payload's design will be modular for further potential use in microsatellites like the skCube. The modular system will increase reliability of the whole device. The launch of the Julo 2 is planned for March 2012.
3. Technological phases