O'Reilly logo

DIY Satellite Platforms by Sandy Antunes

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Parts Is Parts

What sort of electronics are we getting into? For the “big three” boards—Power, Radio, Computer—you are likely to use standard parts. Here’s a rough breakdown on the boards I’m using, with schematics provided by Gerald Auvray for Interorbital Systems’ TubeSat customers.

Power
A couple of high-quality power lithium-ion 3.7V 5200mA cells (fancy speak for rechargeable AA batteries) and a power bus that includes a 10uH shielded Epcos inductor, 8 MAX9929 current sense amplifiers, a boost convertor (LM2731SXMF or similar), an ADC (analog-digital convertor, e.g., MAX11112EAP+), a dozen resistors, a dozen capacitors of varying values, 8 diodes (to go in line with each current sense amp), and 8 Molex headers so you can hook up the other boards to your power bus. Their kit provides Spectrolab improved triple-junction Triangular Advanced Solar Cells (TASC), which are noted in one CubeSat forum to be available cheaply.
Radio
A Microhard N920 or TR2M transmitter/receiver plus AFS2 amplifier, a voltage regulator, a dozen resistors, a half dozen capacitors of varying values, and several Molex headers so you can get power in and signal in/out.
Computer
A BasicX-12 or Arduino setup, a 3.57945MHz or similar crystal for CPU timing, and several Molex connectors so you can get power in and signal in/out.
Miscellaneous
Solar cells, antenna (typically the metal strip from a tape measure, cut to size), standoffs, and bolts and nuts.

Ultimately, we’re talking less than $300 in general ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required