Experiments

Propulsion experiment

Proposed by Nanospace AB, part of the SSC group.

As CubeSats attain more and more interest from industry and other players who want to use this platform for more advanced missions, propulsion capability becomes increasingly important. To date several hundred CubeSats have been launched, but only very few with any propulsion capability on-board. NanoSpace is currently developing a propulsion module suitable for cubesats, and getting flight heritage of this module is the overall goal for NanoSpace with the subject experiment. In more detail, the goal would be to use the propulsion system in such a way that precision control of the satellite can be demonstrated (and thus proving the advanced closed loop thrust control functionality) and also to demonstrate the total impulse capability of the system that will be around 40 Ns.

RATEX-J

Proposed by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Kiruna.

The Earth radiation belt particles (electron and protons) reach altitudes down to 500 km in the polar region and in the region of the South Atlantic Anomaly. Despite the fact the radiation quality differs compared to the environment to be encountered at Jupiter, the radiation environment in LEO can be used as a natural test laboratory to define the efficiency of particle detectors against penetrating radiation, RATEX-J is a prototype of an SSD (solid state detector) based anti-coincidence system for measurements with CCEMs (ceramic channel electron multipliers) and MCP (multichannel plate) to be implemented in the JDC instrument for ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) mission.

Piezo LEGS

Proposed by Piezomotor AB in Uppsala

There is an increasing interest from different space institutes and companies to use piezomotors in applications in space. In general the motors are expected to work well in this environment but in some cases the life time can be a question of interest. The absence of air makes the friction surfaces getting more wear otherwise. This can also be seen in high vacuum tests. Moreover it is of interest to confirm that the motors works well in the environment in other regards, such as radiation for example. The purpose of the test is to follow the motors function over time (several months) to see the possible change of performance and the distance the motor can work.

CUBES

Proposed by Particle and Astroparticle Physics group, Dept. of Physics, KTH

Satellites in low earth orbit are subject to radiation in the form of charged cosmic rays, X-/gamma-rays and neutrons. The nature and intensity of the radiation varies with orbital altitude and position. For example, the Earth’s magnetic field suppresses low energy particles at equatorial locations (so-called geomagnetic cut-off). In polar regions, satellites pass through belts of trapped charged particles. Significant transient changes in the incident flux are also possible due to solar activity and (at X-/gamma-ray energies) thunderstorm activity in the earth’s atmosphere. The radiation environment encountered by satellites is complex and new mission proposals typically use computer models to assess potential measurement backgrounds to scientific instruments operated in space.The goal of CUBES is to study the in-orbit radiation environment using a detector comprising a silicon photomultiplier coupled to scintillator material. The proposed components have been identified for use in future missions (e.g. the SPHiNX mission for hard X-ray polarization studies of gamma-ray bursts). Deployment on a CubeSat mission will provide valuable qualification data – especially for the ‘GAGG’ scintillator which has never been used in space. For the scintillators, studies will focus on possible radio-activation, induced fluorescence and radiation damage. Silicon photomultipliers are a relatively new technology with very limited space heritage. They are of great interest for future space missions due to operating properties comparable to a traditional photomultiplier tube but with significantly lower mass, insensitivity to magnetic fields and low voltage operation.

SiC in space

Proposed by the Integrated Devices and Circuits group, ICT school of KTH

Silicon carbide (SiC) has been proposed as a semiconductor material especially suited for harsh environments. Applications in space have been suggested, including even electronics for a Venus lander. The principal investigator’s group has already demonstrated 500 °C operation of various integrated circuits (ICs), including operational amplifiers (OPAMPs).The functional tests have so far been performed using on-wafer measurements (unpackaged ICs) on earth and in normal atmosphere. During the fall of 2014 a number of these ICs will be packaged and bonded in standard through hole 14-pin ceramic dil packages (CERDIP) for reliability testing, including accelerated lifetime tests at elevated temperature, and in radiation environments. The OPAMPS, being a general electronic building block, can very well be integrated in other electronics, mounted on one of the circuit boards. These SiC ICs are hereby offered for flight testing in the KTH Student Satellite, for in-orbit testing of low-TRL (Technology Readiness Level) Technologies.

MoreBac

Proposed by the Division of Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology, KTH

In the frame of human space exploration, space agencies have been studying technical solutions to provide the crew with the necessary metabolic consumables. In the case of a human-occupied planetary base, one solution consists in implementing a pocket Earth ecosystem, also called closed regenerative life support system, relying on micro-organisms and higher plant to close the carbon and nitrogen cycles, among others. The start-up of such a system, and re-start in case of contingency, requires the transport, long-term storage and revival of the higher plant seeds and the micro‐organisms. As a matter of fact, the seeds are the natural form of a plant which can be stored for long duration with a conservation of the biological functionalities. As far as micro-organisms are concerned, few conservation methods (e.g. cryopreservation, freezing at -80°) are known and broadly used in laboratories. However, such methods are resource-demanding and difficult to automate. Although conservation under freeze-dried form is common and presents several advantages, it needs to be further investigated.Indeed, the exact freeze-drying protocol is usually specific to the biological specimen and the survival rate is poorly characterized. Therefore, it is proposed to investigate the revival of micro-organisms conserved in a freeze-dried form.

SEUD

Proposed by the Department of Electronic Systems, KTH

The purpose of this experiment is two‐fold:
To test an in‐house concept for self‐healing/fault‐tolerant computer system in a hostile environment (like space) to see if it will be able to heal itself by correcting faults during run‐time.
To measure the expected SEU (Single‐Event Upset) frequency in near‐earth orbit. The SEU detector can also be used to detect solar flares, since the number of SEUs/day is increased significantly when that happens.

Some FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Array)  made by the company Xilinx have the capability to detect and correct faults caused by Single‐Event Upsets (SEUs) in the configuration memory by reloading parts of the FPGA during run‐time. Therefore, this technique can be used to build a Single‐Event Upset Detector (SEUD) that measures/counts Single‐Event Upsets that happens inside the FPGA. The minimum detection resolution time is dependent on the maximal scanning frequency of the selected device (~3‐10 ms/complete chip scan). The FPGA itself can be configured with the necessary functionality and computers needed for controlling and surveillance of the SEUD.

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