7th European CubeSat Symposium: Day One

Charles Nokes kicked off AlbertaSat’s presentations today by presenting Grace Yi’s work on Heat Transfer Analysis of the University of Alberta Cube Satellite using Thermal Circuit Analysis. Heat transfer analysis is exceptionally important for us as our battery only has a limited operating range of -5 to +45. To diffuse this issue, we have opted to use our pre-existing Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) to keep the battery within this temperature range. The PCBs themselves provide some heat, but sustainable heat flow is created in the thermal pathways between via rails, spacers, washers, and headers.

Stefan Damkjar also presented his work on Open Source Cube Satellite Subsystems. This currently includes Athena, an on board computer which Stefan Damkjar designed and built as part of his capstone project at the University of Alberta. It also includes a power supply which can be adapted to any project and features protection against radiation. Eventually, we would like to create designs for an open source satellite. This would make creating CubeSats easier for small groups like ours and make it possible for those groups to create custom components without paying thousands of dollars. This would also encourage groups to work together as any adaptations to the open source software or hardware would have to be published.

Our third and final AlbertaSat presentation for the day was presented by John Grey. This presentation was on the Kalman Filter-Inspired Method for Available Solar Power Prediction and Satellite Load Control.  Kalman filtering is predictive and more effective than a typical low pass filter. Instead of charging the battery for a while and then collecting a lot of data, our satellite will constantly adjust how much data it takes and adapt the battery usage accordingly. This will allow our satellite to collect data continuously. Our filter follows the trend in the data to filter out noise, providing us with a very stable filter.  This filter also allows us to decide what components use the most amount of power and when, preventing us from wasting any charge.

The rest of the afternoon featured sessions on CubeSat launchers and deployers and on Mircopropulsion systems for CubeSats. We were also treated to a presentation from Dr. Nikolaos Paschalidis from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre. His presentation focused on recent CubeSat missions at NASA/GSFC. CubeSats are very useful for large companies as they can be used to test new components as well as to train scientists and engineers. Later tonight some of our members will be visiting AMOS and CSL to learn more about the technology they use and their operations.

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