Encourage the regional development of space applications for social-economic purposes based
on CubeSat technology.
To foster the approach between the academic field and the aerospace environment, particularly
to undergraduate students. To conceptualize, design, produce, test and start a set of CubeSats
with academic purposes making use of the FDM 3D printing technology and Commercial Off-
The-Shelf (COTS) components, maximizing the use of the state of the art of the involved
technologies, focusing the efforts in the development of interfaces, software, systems integration
and above all in the development of an application-proposal to fill a not only locally but
regionally vacancy area.
Articulation and short-term implementation and use
Encourage the professional and academic articulation of the project. Call local and regional
institutions interested in CubeSat standard-based Smallsat technology, for a hands-on train-
ing with an academic approach, by means of the developed 3D Printing & COTS CubeSat
engineering model replicas. A general block diagram showing the complete architecture of a
mission based on CubeSat can be seen on Fig.2. Creating these type of satellites aims to train
and attract undergraduate students towards science and technology in aerospace matters, fo-
cussing efforts on satellital standards growing worldwide. Therefore the CubeSat replicas will be built with 3D printing fused deposition modeling and COTS electronics, based mainly on
Open-source hardware (e.g. Arduino).
- The group currently working on this project, has been developing activities linked to the
robotics field with educational purposes in High Schools and Colleges.
- Availability of 3D printers.
- Self-funding network for minor developments.
- Technical coaching in aerospace matter and access to GomSpace and ISIS CubeSat specs
(from CONAE Academic Laboratories).
The Arduino platform was chosen for the development due to its low cost, local availability
and work philosophy. The 3D Printing & COTS CubeSat project include:
- On board Computer ( Arduino Mega 2560).
- One camera module (C439).
- Digital Accelerometer (ADXL345).
- Light sensor (TSL2561).
- NetWork Communication module (NodeMCU,NRF2104).
- Up/Down Link RF module.
- Solar Panels (18V/40mA).
- Expansion boards FFPC104.
- Battery module (ICR18650 pack).
FDM 3D printing technology is employed for the structure development, achieving a Cube-
Sat replica for academic practice. The structure can be seen in Fig.3 wherein the modules
involved are exposed.
The space segment is composed of 6 general subsystems:
- Energy subsystem (EPS): its implemented with a rechargeable cell array ICR 18650
(3.7v/4800mAh) they supply 7.2V/9600 mAh to the system. A solar panel array collect
the energy to charge the batteries by a TP4056 module.
- Communication subsystem: The Cubesat Network use a NodeMCU (master hub)
and RF24L01 Wifi receptors, to the communication between each space segments. One
configured as Master Hub and the others as Slaves.
- Telemetry, telecommand and (TT&C) control: The data download and remote
control from the ground station use RF transmission modules working at 433MHz. Also
it has a radio beacon which transmit the EPS status at 144Mhz to isolate it from the
- Position Subsystem: To know the orientation of the cubesat and maintain the direc-
tion of the antennas always to the Earth and the solar panels to the sun, use a 3 axis
one accelerometer and one light sensor.
- Payload: A 1.3 Mp camera module, it’s the principal payload.
- OBC: Use a Mega 2560 Arduino Board to check, manage and store the data from all
This segment simulate a real Ground station. Consist in:
- RF(433 Mhz) reception module with antenna.
- Nano Arduino Board integrated to the receive data from the space segment (downlink)
and remote control (uplink) to make manoeuvre.
The Space Segments have 2U standard cubesat unit. Each are build using plastic by FDM 3D
printing technology and L shape aluminium profile all attached with M3 threaded rod, bolts
and nuts (Fig.4). That material mixture provides greater mechanical rigidity than use only
plastic like previous versions. In this way an educational engineering model similar to one for
commercial purposes is achieved.
Currently running with V1 version that integrates all the involucrated modules in the subsys-
tems mentioned previously.
This version provides a minimum necessary code to obtain through ground segment, ori-
entation, energy status and the cubesat beacon. The V2 version is being developed, it will
be incorporate the telecomands, general system optimization and camera manipulation for
images acquisition (payload).