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The following is a list of CubeSatsnanosatellites used primarily by universities for research missions, typically in low Earth orbits. Some CubeSats became their country's first national satellite.



Research and development[edit]

  • An ambitious project is the QB50, an international network of 50 CubeSats for multi-point by different Universities and other teams, in-situ measurements in the lower thermosphere (90–350 km) and re-entry research. QB50 is an initiative of the Von Karman Institute and is funded by the European Union. Double-unit ("2-U") CubeSats (10x10x20 cm) are foreseen, with one unit (the 'functional' unit) providing the usual satellite functions and the other unit (the 'science' unit) accommodating a set of standardised sensors for lower thermosphere and re-entry research. 35 CubeSats are envisaged to be provided by universities in 19 European countries, 10 by universities in the US, 2 by universities in Canada, 3 by Japanese universities, 1 by an institute in Brazil, and others. Ten double or triple CubeSats are foreseen to serve for in-orbit technology demonstration of new space technologies. All 50 CubeSats may be launched together on a single Cyclone-4 launch vehicle in February 2016.[1] The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the QB50 CubeSat was released on February 15, 2012.
  • AAU CubeSat, by Aalborg University: The Danish students in this project, beginning in the summer of 2001, designed a satellite that would evaluate the technology and demonstrate the capabilities of the CubeSat concept. In order to successfully show the technology to the public, the team installed a camera on board the spacecraft, and outfitted it with a magnetically based attitude control system. But upon reaching orbit, the radio signals were weaker than expected and the batteries failed after only one month of semi-operational activity.[2]
  • AAUSAT-II is the second student-built CubeSat built and operated by students from Aalborg University in Denmark. It was launched 28 April 2008 05:54 UTC from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India on a PSLV rocket. AAUSAT-II carries a radiation sensor.
  • AAUSAT3 is the third student-built CubeSat from Aalborg University in Denmark. The primary payload is an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver which primary task is to receive AIS data from ships around Greenland. Launched 25 February 2013 on the Indian PSLV C20. AAUSAT3 is the very first student satellite operating AIS receivers and the first demonstration of the AAU developed CSP communication protocol - internally on CANBUS on spacelink at UHF (FSK, 9600/19200). The mission has been successful.
  • PW-Sat, by Warsaw University of Technology: This experiment revolves around CubeSats themselves. The test will involve developing a method to deorbit CubeSats by engaging an atmospheric drag device.[3] The mission's focus will be the testing of this foil device; its deployment to intentionally bring the satellite back into the thicker portion of Earth's atmosphere to bring the mission to an end.[4] The satellite is Poland's first.[5] The satellite was delivered to orbit on the maiden flight of the European Space Agency's new launch vehicle in 2012.[6]
  • OUFTI-1, by the University of Liège and I.S.I.L (Haute École de la Province de Liège): This is a 1-unit CubeSat that is being built by Belgian students. The name is an acronym for Orbital Utility For Telecommunication Innovation. This Belgian satellite was planned to launch on the maiden flight of Vega. The goal of the project is to develop experience in the different aspects of satellite design and operation. In the communications portion of the device, the academic team will be experimenting with the D-STAR digital voice mode and communications protocol that is popular with amateur radio operators.[3][7] The satellite has a mass of just 1 kilogram and will utilize a UHF uplink and a VHF downlink.[8]
  • CubeSat TestBed 1, by Boeing: Boeing successfully completed all of its design and operational goals with its first nanosatellite. It was built and flown to explore the possibilities with the new CubeSat standard.[9] Boeing satellites are usually much larger; a Boeing 601 or 702 satellite has 1,000 times the mass of their 1 kilogram CubeSat.[10]
  • InnoSAT, by Astronautic Technology Sdn Bhd: This CubeSat will test attitude control and navigation technologies developed by five Malaysian universities.[11]
  • XSAS, by University of Michigan: This project, based on graduate research, will house an accordion folded solar array inside a 1U CubeSat. The array will extend into a long solar panel once in orbit, thereby increasing by many times the power available to an attached CubeSat.[12]
  • Clyde Space is a company that started development of subsystems for CubeSats in 2005, including electrical power systems, attitude control systems, and pulsed-plasma thruster propulsion systems. In 2010 the UK Space Agency awarded Clyde Space the UK's first CubeSat mission, UKube-1, a 3U CubeSat due to launch mid-2013.[13]
  • Aerojet began developing a propulsion system for cubesats in 2011 that occupies a 1U baseline volume and readily integrates with other CubeSat platforms to create modular, fully mobile cubesats. Dubbed "CHAMPS", this system utilizes chemical propulsion and offers significantly more total impulse compared to cold gas propulsion systems.[14]
  • Alta SpA develops electric and chemical propulsion systems suited for satellites of various size. A critical analysis of different electric propulsion systems was carried out by the company in 2011.[15] The IL-FEEP thruster, a field emission, linear slit propulsion system based on the FEEP heritage, is specially suited for CubeSats and is provided in a compact, 1U version for use on 2U or 3U missions.[16]
  • The Vermont Lunar CubeSat launched by Vermont Technical College and funded in part by a grant from Vermont Space Grant Consortium and NASA.[17]
  • OPUSAT was launched to test Lithium-ion capacitor technology in space.
  • e-st@r (Educational Satellite @ Polytechnic University of Turin) is a miniaturized satellite built by the Polytechnic University of Turin. It was launched into Low Earth Orbit on the maiden flight of Arianespace's Vega rocket on the 13th Feb 2012. It is a 1-U CubeSat design weighing 1 kg. The launch was a multi-payload mission shared with LARES, ALMASat-1, Goliat, MaSat-1, PW-Sat, ROBUSTA, UniCubeSat-GG and Xatcobeo.

Earth remote sensing[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Earth remote sensing.

Space tether[edit]

For more details on tethers in space, see Tether satellite.
For more details on space missions using tethers, see Space tether missions.
  • MAST, by Tethers Unlimited: The Multi-Application Survivable Tether experiment, based in the United States, was launched 17 April 2007 aboard a Dnepr rocket. This 1 km multistrand, interconnected tether (Hoytether) is being used to test and prove the long-term survivability for tethers in space. The three MAST pico-satellites ejected from the P-POD successfully, but the communications system had difficulties,[23][24] and the separation mechanism did not function properly, preventing full deployment of the tether.[25] Nonetheless, the experiment operated for over a month and downloaded over 2 MB of data on tethered satellite dynamics as well as images of the tether. While Stanford University formed the academic portion of the team, Tethers Unlimited, from Seattle, Washington, formed the commercial portion of the team.[26]
  • STARS (Kukai), by the Kagawa Satellite Development Project at Kagawa University, Japan: The Space Tethered Autonomous Robotic Satellite (STARS) mission launched 23 January 2009 as a secondary payload on a H-IIA launch. After launch, the satellite was named KUKAI, and consisted of two subsatellites, "Ku" and "Kai," to be linked by a 5-meter tether. It was successfully separated from the rocket and transferred into the planned orbit.[27] See also STARS-II microsatellite follow-up with longer (300m) tether.
  • Tempo3, by The Mars Society: This operation is called the Tethered Experiment for Mars inter-Planetary Operations and is meant to demonstrate the generation of artificial gravity. The project seeks to enhance knowledge about long term space flight.[28]



NASA's GeneSat 1

  • GeneSat 1, by the NASA Ames Research Center: In December 2006, a Minotaur launch vehicle carried this satellite into orbit from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility to carry out a genetics experiment. The team assembled the biological growth and analysis systems to perform experiments with E. coli bacteria.[29] The project is not cheap by CubeSat standards: the total spent on the satellite and its experiments were $6 million before the launch took place. The goal is to establish methods for studying the genetic changes that come from being exposed to a space environment.[30] The satellite was outfitted with a UHF beacon.

Other uses[edit]

  • StudSat, first Indian satellite of Pico-Category was developed by a group of 35 students from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, India, and was launched 12 July 2010 by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.[31]
  • Cubesat ROBUSTA, by Montpellier 2 University: A mission to test the effects of radiation on electronics.[3] The goal is to specifically check the deterioration of electronic components based on bipolar transistors when exposed to the space radiation environment. The results of this experiment will be used to validate a test method proposed in the laboratory. The French satellite launched on the maiden flight of Vega in early 2012.[6]
  • TJ³Sat, by Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA, which was the first CubeSat ever launched by high school students on November 19, 2013.[32]
  • Xatcobeo, by University of Vigo and Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial: The goal for this project is to test software defined radio and to experiment with solar panel deployment.[3] The Spanish satellite launched on the maiden flight of Vega.[3][6]
  • CINEMA, a collaborative effort between the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory, Imperial College London, School of Space Research of Kyung Hee University, and the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico: The project's goal is to develop a cubesat that monitors space weather using a combination of magnetometers and particle detectors.[33]
  • A CubeSat Inflatable Deorbit Device, by Old Dominion University: This study describes a deployable aerodynamic drag device that can be incorporated in basic 1U CubeSat units that can meet the 25-year orbital lifetime constraint for initial orbit perigees of up to 900 km.[34]
  • The NEE-01 Pegaso launched by the Ecuadorian Space Agency in early 2013 was the first known cubesat able to transmit real time video from orbit and broadcast the live feed over the internet.[35]
  • INVADER (Artsat-1) launched by JAXA in 2014 to provide voice broadcast from orbit.

List of launched CubeSats[edit]

There are five types of CubeSats: 0.5U, 1U, 2U, 3U, and 6U. The number corresponds to the (approximate) length of the CubeSat in decimetres. Width and depth are normally ten centimetres, or one decimetre. A 6U CubeSat measures approximately 1×2×3 decimetres.[36]

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

This list can be sorted by clicking on the heading of any column.[not in order]

Name COSPAR ID[37]
Type Organisation Mission Mission status Launch Date (UTC) Time Launch Vehicle Reentry date Remarks
Aalto-2   3U Aalto University and Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland Atmospheric research Active 18 Apr 2017 15:11 Atlas V   First Finnish satellite. Part of the QB50 project.
MinXSS 41474U 3U University of Colorado Boulder / Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics Solar soft X-ray studies Active 6 Dec 2015, ISS deployed 16 May 2016 08:44 Atlas V   [38][39]
AeroCube-6   1U Aerospace Corporation Radiation studies in LEO   19 Jun 2014 19:11:11 Dnepr   [40][41]
UniSat 6 2014-033C In-orbit CubeSat launcher GAUSS Deployed TigriSatLemur 1ANTELSAT and AeroCube 6   19 Jun 2014 19:11:11 Dnepr   [40][42][43]
ExoCube[44]   3U Cal Poly
Space weather   31 Jan 2015 14:22[45] Delta II via ELaNa-X   [46][47]
FIREBIRD II   1.5U ×2 Montana State University
University of New Hampshire
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Aerospace Corp
Space weather   31 Jan 2015 14:22[45] Delta II via ELaNa-X   Focused Investigations of Relativistic Electron Burst, Intensity, Range, and Dynamics (FIREBIRD) II[46][48]
GRIFEX   3U University of Michigan
Atmospheric studies technology   31 Jan 2015 14:22[45] Delta II via ELaNa-X   Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) Read-Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC) In-Flight Performance Experiment (GRIFEX)[46][49][50]
OptiCube 3   3U Cal Poly, SLO Targets for orbital debris studies Active 20 May 2015 15:05 Atlas V   [51][52]
AeroCube 8B   1.5U Aerospace Corp.   Active 20 May 2015 15:05 Atlas V   [51]
AeroCube 8A   1.5U Aerospace Corp.   Active 20 May 2015 15:05 Atlas V   [51]
OptiCube 2