The research team of ISTsat-1 project was selected for the final phase of "FlyYour Satellite!", a programme promoted by the Education Office of the European Space Agency - ESA. The programme offers university teams engaged in the design of a CubeSat mission the opportunity to build, test, launch and operate their own satellite mission with support from ESA specialists. In the next months, the teams selected for participation will have to demonstrate that their satellite´s design is at a sufficient level of maturity to proceed to the final integration and testing of the spacecraft. Supporting the students in the preparation of those tasks there will be experts from 17 different fields ranging from engineering disciplines such as on-board data handling, power engineering, telecommunications and more, to requirements management and space debris mitigation measures.
The ISTnanosat project started in 2012 to foster the interest of young university students in this area, through the tracking of artificial satellites and in particular their communications. The first product of this project is a CubeSat of 1U (10x10x11 cm) which was named ISTnanosat-1.The development of the satellite ISTnanosat-1 involves challenges in various areas of Engineering and is therefore the ideal project to motivate and test the technical qualities of young engineering students.
IT has been very involved in the project since the beginning, supporting the construction costs of the different sub-systems of the satellite, as well as the participation of some of its researchers who supervise the work of the students who are members of the ISTsat-1 team. Following a “learn by doing” approach, most of the satellite components are being developed internally rather than simply being purchased. Apart from pedagogical, this approach is also more economical since the pre-built modules are very expensive. Joining ESA programmes such as “FlyYour Satellite” helps even further to reduce the project´s financial impact.
From an operational point of view, the ISTsat-1 will perform a mission to test the concept of receiving ADS-B signals to track the position of airplanes in remote areas from space.