KiwiSAT is the first satellite of New Zealand. The microsatellite will carry both amateur radio communications and a scientific experiment in small satellite attitude control (ADAC). The project is funded by donations via AMSAT-ZL.
The ADAC on-board experiment explores aspects of the fine attitude control of a small satellite by interaction with the earth’s magnetic field. This, it was thought, would provide a safe but interesting objective for a first AMSAT-ZL satellite and would at the same time enable us to establish just what level of pointing accuracy could be achieved by simple equipment and smart software. Ground based experiments have demonstrated that the attitude can be precision controlled by means of pulsed magnatorquers to enable the unit to be rotated at various speeds and stopped in selected directions. The end aim is to be able to have the on-board computer (IHU) command the satellite to adopt a specific attitude. If this can be achieved it opens great possibilities for low-cost low-risk satellites which could monitor distant events or enable special communications experiments using high gain/narrow beam width antenna. An advantage of this command ability will be to enable fine control of the satellite’s spin axis and rate of rotation.
Additionally, the Advanced Propagation Experiment is also to be conducted. To enable measurement of Faraday Rotation and Total Electron Count, the 70 cm Beacon will be phase locked to the 2 m Beacon. The 70 cm Beacon may be unavailable when the Transponders is in Mode U/V. (70 cm in – 2 m out) Potential users are encouraged to write Shareware to enable radio amateurs and other listeners around the world to share in this experiment. Knowledge of the propagation path parameters between an LEO satellite and the earths surface will enable enhanced calibration of planned environmental experiments using radio signals from more advanced LEO systems.
KiwiSAT development was completed in 2013 and the satellite ready for launch into a LEO orbit. Originally a launch on a Dnepr rocket was envisaged, but was not realized. A launch opportunity has not yet been negotiated.
|Type / Application:||Technology, amateur communications|
|Power:||Solar cells, batteries|