TubeSat Personal Satellite Kit
Explore Low-Earth Orbit
Planet Earth has entered the age of the Personal Satellite with the introduction of Interorbital's TubeSat Personal Satellite (PS) Kit. The IOS TubeSat PS Kit is the low-cost alternative to the CubeSat. It has three-quarters of the mass (0.75-kg or 1.65-lb) and volume of a CubeSat, but still offers plenty of room for most experiments or applications. And, best of all, the price of the TubeSat kit includes the price of a launch into Low Earth Orbit on an IOS modular launch vehicle. Since the TubeSats are placed into self-decaying orbits 310 kilometers (192 miles) above the Earth's surface, they do not contribute to the long-term build-up of orbital debris. After operating for a several weeks or months (the exact length of time on orbit is dependent on solar activity), they will safely re-enter the atmosphere and burn-up.
The TubeSat is designed to be orbit-friendly and is designed to function as a Basic Satellite Bus or as a simple stand-alone satellite. Each TubeSat kit includes the satellite's structural components, printed circuit board (PCB) Gerber Files, electronic components, solar cells, batteries, transceiver (requires an authorized frequency allocation from the FCC or equivalent non-US entity), antennas, microcomputer, and the required programming tools. With these components, the builder can construct a satellite that can be received on the ground by a hand-held amateur radio receiver. Simple applications include broadcasting a repeating message from orbit or programming the satellite to function as an orbital amateur radio relay station. These are just two examples. The TubeSat also allows the builder to add his or her own experiment or function to the basic TubeSat Kit. Examples of add-on experiments or applications include the following:
-- Earth-from-space video imaging
-- Earth magnetic field measurement
-- Satellite orientation detection (horizon sensor, gyros, accelerometers, etc.)
-- Orbital environment measurements (temperature, pressure, radiation, etc.)
-- On-orbit hardware and software component testing (microprocessors, etc.)
-- Tracking migratory animals from orbit
-- Testing satellite stabilization methods
-- Biological experiments
-- On-orbit advertising
-- Space art
-- Space burials
The hexadecagon-shaped TubeSat is assembled from a set of printed circuit boards (PCBs). A PCB stack forms the inner structure with a set of Solar Cell PCBs and Aluminum Closure Strips forming the external structure. External Guide Bearings facilitate the satellite's deployment from a tubular ejection unit on orbit.
As long as the experiment or application satisfies the volume and mass restrictions, it can be integrated into the TubeSat. These restrictions provide a unique intellectual challenge for the experiment or application designer.
The TubeSat Transceiver PC boards are compatible with transceivers in the amateur radio band (Radiometrix TR2M with an Radiometrix AFS2 amplifier) or the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) band (Microhard n920 or Microhard n2420). TubeSat builders have the option of using the included PCB Gerber files for the Radiometrix or Microhard transceivers or selecting a transceiver of their choice and building a custom transceiver PC board. The owner of a TubeSat operating in the amateur radio band will require an amateur radio license, a license to use an allocation frequency, and any applicable experimental permits from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or non-US equivalent. For information about commercial operations from space, contact the FCC or equivalent (requires an Experimental Radio Service license in the US). US-based Earth-observation projects must also obtain a license from NOAA/Department of Commerce.
All builders must be assigned a transceiver frequency by the US FCC or equivalent non-US entity and present that license or permit to IOS before payload integraton for their satellites can begin.
TubeSats are also available as Double (2U) TubeSats, or Triple (3U) TubeSats. The length, volume, and mass of these expanded TubeSats are based on the multiplying factor.
You can can download the latest TubeSat brochure by clicking the tab on your right. For more detailed information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 661.965.0771, and request a Specifications and Pricing document.