AAUSAT5 is an educational mission for students, built by students. Its main objective is to provide university (bachelor and master) students with significant practical experience in the full lifecycle of a real, challenging, space project. Students are given the opportunity to combine theory and practice, acquire project management experience, and adopt procedures that are typical of real-life space missions. Through this experience, the students have the opportunity to form international networks within the space community, and to develop technical and interpersonal skills applicable to their future careers.
The educational mission is achieved through the accomplishment of the specific technical objectives set for AAUSAT5: toconduct, in-orbit, testing of an improved version of the Automated Identification System (AIS) receiver. The AIS is a system developed to track and identify ships and other vehicles carrying an AIS transponder, which are transiting away from coastal areas and in remote areas, that will help to enable safe use of new sea shipping lanes.
AAUSAT5 follows its predecessors, AAUSAT3 and AAUSAT4, with additional features to allow for its deployment from the ISS into low Earth orbit. The low altitude gives a smaller foot-print and higher signal strength when receiving AIS signals from ships, which will broaden the opportunity for testing AIS in areas with high density shipping, such as Europe. AAUSAT5 is expected to be operational for approximately 3 to 8 months.
AAUSAT5 project timeline
|Design & Development||In this phase the student team designed, assembled, and integrated their satellite||January 2014 – March 2015|
|Functional and Mission Tests||After assembly and integration, several functional tests and a mission test at system level were performed to verify the functionality and performance of the AAUSAT5 satellite in laboratory conditions||March – April 2015|
|Thermal Vacuum Test||The satellite underwent three cycles of extreme hot and cold temperatures in a thermal-vacuum chamber at ESA-ESTEC||04-19 March 2015|
|Vibration Test||The random vibration test was performed at Hytek in Aalborg||15-17 April 2015|
|Transport||AAUSAT5 was transported to Houston||07 June 2015|
|Acceptance and Integration||The CubeSat was accepted by Nanoracks and integrated in the NRCSD Deployer||09-10 June 2015|
|Transportation to launch site||AAUSAT5, integrated inside its NRCSD Deployer, was shipped to the launch site in Japan||July 2015|
|Launch||Launch to the ISS from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan to the ISS||19 August 2015|
|Deployment into orbit||Deployment from the ISS by an astronaut||September 2015|
AAUSAT5 in-orbit operations
|Phase I: In-orbit checkout||Deployment of UHF-band antennas, verify contact, check subsystem operations, download data, verify main payload (AIS subsystem receiving packages)||First seven days|
|Phase II: Daily operations||Testing AIS in different geographical areas, test of AIS algorithms||First 3 months+|
|Phase III: Experimental (optional) operations||Supplementary experiments, such as tests on the spacecraft telecommunication subsystem to improve its future design||
|Disposal||AAUSAT5 will be passively deorbited using the effect of orbital drag||After 3-8 months (<1year)|