SmallSat Conference 2017 Summary

Orbital Transports highlighted space logistics and orbital infrastructure services for small satellite missions at the recent SmallSat Conference 2017 in Logan, Utah. Smallsats range in mass from less than 2 lbs to 360 lbs, and are gaining in popularity as affordable space missions across a growing range of industries. The annual Small Satellite Conference provides a forum to review recent successes, explore new directions, and introduces emerging technologies.  The conference creates an excellent environment for networking and offers the opportunity to launch new, innovative, and low-cost technologies. We had a successful trade show at the exhibition with an impressive turnout…

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Small Sats, Bigger Conference

Several years ago, while attending SmallSat Conference in Logan, Utah, CEO David Hurst recognized the growing need for a space logistics provider in the space industry. It galvanized the core purpose of Orbital Transports, and has helped to build the network of partners we have today. To serve the ever-growing satellite market, Orbital Transports works with its clients to solve space logistical challenges. We coordinate the complex elements involving space vehicles, people, facilities, and services to deliver small satellite solutions from concept to through to completed mission. If you’re one of the many who descend upon Logan for the SmallSat…

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CubeSats Moving Out of the Box

The Cal Poly CubeSat program has been hosting the CubeSat Developers’ Workshop for the past thirteen years, but this year is a bit different. Driven by years of success, and growth of the market, the event has outgrown the facilities they used in previous years.  It will now be relocating to the Performing Arts Center on the Cal Poly Campus to host the workshop on April 26-28, 2017. The annual event brings together participants from around the world to share and discuss the latest developments in space and CubeSat technology. Orbital Transports will be one of this year’s attendees. Dr…

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NITESat… meet NITELITE!

A major system in NITESat is the imaging payload.  It’s correct design and proper operation are critical to the success of the NITESat mission.  Consequently, we are building a prototype imaging system, called NITELITE.  This prototype will provide an engineering demonstration of the NITESat imaging system.  It will allow us to test as much of the functioning system as possible by mirroring the actual design of the NITESat architecture.  We plan to run synchronized tests of the NITELITE imaging system from a high altitude balloon while obtaining ground-based observations of light pollution during the flights. We are currently planning to…

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NITESat Passes Preliminary Design Review

The NITESat mission team recently submitted its preliminary design to an independent review board for assessment.  The review board examined the preliminary design to ensure that it meets the mission’s top-level requirements and is consistent with the mission goals and objectives. The team presented the mission concept of operations, the system architecture, and proposed technical implementations. The system architecture for the satellite is based on an ISIS 2U cubesat frame and incorporates a number of off-the-shelf components from GOMSpace to handle standard functions including solars arrays and electrical power system, communications, command and control, and attitude determination and control. The…

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NITESat HAB flight captures night-time illumination from Chicago

We participated in a high-altitude balloon (HAB) launch recently.  This was a night launch and our goal was to capture images of night-time illumination on the ground.  We planned to test the low-light sensitivity of some off-the-shelf imaging systems to define a basic performance benchmark for the NITESat nanosatellite mission. We were testing a hacked GoPro 3 which would take high resolution images every minute or so, a hacked Canon point-and-shoot which would also take images once a minute, and a GoPro 2 which was taking standard video.  We used the same image stabilization frame to support the cameras and…

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NITESat Mission Achieves First Milestone

The NITESat nanosatellite mission achieved its first development milestone in September, successfully passing the Mission Concept Review.  The independent review panel examined the mission’s objectives and the concept for meeting those objectives.  All three reviewers found the mission very exciting and provided valuable feedback to the NITESat team. NITESat (Night Imaging & Tracking Experiment Satellite) is a nanosatellite mission to acquire high quality night imagery of Earth from orbit to measure the quantity and quality of light pollution across the United States.  The mission offers an opportunity to make a marked increase in out understanding of the effects of light…

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Adler IR Satellite

The Adler Planetarium is collaborating with Orbital Transports to build, launch, and operate a 3U CubeSat to demonstrate the ability to obtain Earth observation imagery in mid-infrared spectrum from low Earth orbit.  The primary science mission will map the global temperature of the Earth’s surface at a sufficient resolution to provide valuable data.  We plan to demonstrate the use of a cryocooled, high-definition mid-wavelength IR imaging system in a CubeSat form factor.  The Adler IR Satellite (AIRSAT) will be the focus of a public exhibit at the Adler Planetarium presenting the process and results of the mission.  Mission results will…

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