The EduSAT educational satellite Project was funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) with the aim to promote Space education among high school students and to support qualification and scientific careers of university students, PhD students and young researchers.
EduSAT microsatellite has been designed and manufactured by the Group of Astrodynamics of the “Sapienza” University of Roma (GAUSS), on the basis of its previous experience, the UNISAT program (UNIversity SATellite), that started at the School of Aerospace Engineering of Roma in the early nineties.
- EduSAT’s structure is a square prism with dimensions 315 mm x 315 mm x 260 mm, in honeycomb alluminium. Its weight is ca. 10 Kg
- Power system: solar cells triple junction and Ni-Cd batteries
- Attitude control: with a passive magnetic stabilization through the use of a permanent magnet
- Two magnetometers
- COMMS subsystem: Transceiver UHF and VHF band and S-band transmitter, allowing to operate the satellite from the ground station installed by GAUSS Group at the School of Aerospace Engineering. A GPS transmitter made by the American SpaceQuest.
Mission objectives and payload
The objective of this program was to develop a small Space mission for low cost scientific experiments and technological tests in orbit. The didactic payload on board was composed by:
- The main experiment was a Sun sensor capable of determining the orientation of the satellite with respect to the Sun. It was suggested by high school students involved in the project and implemented by the company IMT Srl, with the scope of better understanding the spacecraft asset
- MR-FOD releasing system (Morehead Rome Femto Orbital Deployer), designed by GAUSS Group in cooperation with Morehead State University (Kentucky), a prototype deployer for PocketQubes
- Temperature Sensor, providing the satellite with a passive thermal control
- Study of de-orbiting system to avoid that the satellite becomes a space debris at the end of its mission.
EduSAT was launched on August 17, 2011 at 07:12:20 UTC (09:12:20 Italian time) from Dombarovsky Cosmodrome (launch site near Yasny) by the Russian-Ukranian DNEPR Launch Vehicle. Its orbit is quasi-polar (98,26 deg), sun synchronous with a height of 674 km.
It formed part of a Cluster Launch with SICH-2 (from Ukraine), NigeriaSat-2 SC and NigeriaSat-x (from Nigeria), RAZAT (from Turkey), APRIZESAT-5, 6 (from USA). The spacecraft is still orbiting.