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S-CUBE or S3 (Shootingstar Sensing Satellite) is Japanese 3U Cubesat project for observation of meteors from low earth orbit.

S-CUBE is a partnership between Planetary Exploration Research Center of Chiba Institute of Technology (PERC/Chitech) in Narashino and Tohoku University in Sendai.

The 3U satellite bus is developed on the base of the Raiko cubesat. It features 3-axis magnetic torquers and gravity-gradient stabilization by an extendible boom.

The scientific instruments consist of a CCD camera inherited from SpriteSat and a Photomultiplier tube (PMT) for detection at ultraviolet wavelengths.

The S-CUBE mission has following goals:

  • Detect UV emission from a meteor by PMT, which is used as a trigger of a camera (minimum success)
  • Take an image of meteor by a camera to estimate the meteoroid size from brightness (minimum success)
  • Obtain the flux (i. e., size distribution) of meteors (full success)
  • Estimate the compositions of meteors quantitatively from emission from species, such as sulfur (optional)

The satellite was delivered to the ISS by the HTV 5 cargo craft. It was deployed on 17 September 2015.

Nation: Japan
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: PERC/Chitech, Tohoku University
Contractors: PERC/Chitech, Tohoku University
Equipment: CCD camera, PMT
Configuration: CubeSat (3U)
Propulsion: none
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 6 months
Mass: 4 kg
Orbit: 397 km × 408 km, 51.6
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
S-CUBE 1998-067GY 19.08.2015 Ta YLP-2 H-2B-304 with HTV 5, Flock-2b 1, ..., 14, SERPENS, GOMX 3, AAUSAT 5