Project AQUIS (Aachen's QUbe In Space) is our nanosatellite project based on the PocketQube standard, which requires the main volume of it to be a cube as small as 5x5x10 cm and its weight to be only 500g. Our mission is to take our very own pictures of the beautiful planet Earth from Space, and for that we are set to design one of the most advanced 2p PocketQubes ever created. Systems on board:
An electrical power system to gather, store and distribute sufficient electrical power for all systems that need it.
An on-board computer to operate the satellite semi-autonomously based on on-board data and ground requests.
A communication system to transfer data or pictures taken and receive commands from the ground operations team.
A deployment system to activate the satellite once placed in orbit and switch from its compact launch configuration to its functional configuration.
An attitude control system so that the solar cells are pointed to the Sun for energy generation and the camera is pointed to the Earth.
A self-developed propulsion system for collisionavoidance maneuvers and compensation of aerodynamic drag.
2025 with Alba Orbital
+ Take snapshots of the earth + Space Team Aachen's first object in space
The mission is planned to start in 2025. The satellite will orbit at about the same height as the ISS and will move with a velocity of about 7 km/s. With this speed, a full orbit lasts only about 1 hour 30 minutes, slightly more than half of which is spent in sunlight, and the rest in Earth’s shadow.
Bones and Muscles
This will be no ordinary and conventional structure. We aim to bring the number of our structural components as low as possible and use almost 0 bolts! The idea of AQUIS’s structure is to implement an integral design to integrate each subsystem with no additional connection elements.
The electrical power system plans on using origami for its deployable solar panels and using high efficiency solar cells. Additionally, it will store the power needed for satellite operations and distribute it via the voltage bus to every system onboard. The on-board computer is programmed to operate autonomously until it receives commands from the ground station.
We are developing an active attitude control system using magnetorquers and a reaction wheel. The goal is to control the attitude of the satellite for optimal charging and for precise pointing of the camera and the antennas on board.
Our self-developed propulsion system is the greatest challenge for the team and carries the greatest innovation and scientific potential. It is not critical for the mission success, yet it gives the satellite the freedom to perform collision avoidance maneuvers on its own and to compensate for the aerodynamic drag, prolonging the life of the mission.
The satellite is going to take pictures, and if possible, videos of the planet Earth from its orbit, and communicate them back to the ground station. Our camera will make it possible for us to see and enjoy the beauty of our home.