NASA and Stanford University exploring space with chip-size satellites

NASA research team and Stanford University collaborated to deploy 105 ChipSat satellites onto the earth-orbit. The chip cost less then $100, what makes easy for everyone to explore the space.

Now ChipSats are about the post stamp size, containing the most essential electronics and solar cells to feed it after launch. In future satellites will contain specific sets of electronics on board to perform various exploration missions. The creator of ChiSat satellites is Zac Manchester, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University.

For years researches and investigators were looking the way to find relatively cheap and easy way to launch satellites onto the orbit. In 1999 was created CubeSat, lightweight spacecraft to perform small-scale missions. In 2009 CubeSat was reengineered into event smaller satellite.

Last November CubeSat-type device was loaded with 105 ChipSats and launched to the International Space Station.

ChipSat consist of low-cost and low-power ICs, including:

  • Spectrolab TASC,
  • TI CC430 microcontroller,
  • radio SoC,
  • HMC5883L 3-axis magnetometer,
  • InvenSense ITG-3200 3-axis MEMS gyroscope,
  • passives,
  • 3.5 cm x 3.5 cm PCB,

Read the article about ChipSat here.

Read the description of KickSat Nanosatelite Mission here.