ALMASat-1: ALma MAter SATellite


ALMASat-1 is a 12.5 kg technology demonstration microsatellite developed and built by the University of Bologne.

The 30 cm cube is a modular structure that can be used for various technology demonstration or Earth observation missions. The main objective of this first mission is to test the key performance of this low-cost multipurpose bus to prepare for future missions, such as 3-axis pointing accuracy.

To ensure the deorbiting of the satellite within 25 years, ALMASat will be injected into an elliptical orbit with a perigee altitude of 350 km.

The first ALMASat (ALma MAter SATellite) demonstration mission is due for launch in the second half of 2011 on board the VEGA Maiden Flight in Kourou, French Guyana. Among the possible future applications, there is the use of an enhanced ALMASat bus for a microsatellite Earth Observation mission (ALMASat-EO), recently funded by the Italian Ministry of Research (MiUR). As a first step, a fully automated amateur radio ground station has been designed and installed in the faculty labs and is operational since September 2003.

At the same time, the faculty staff, PhD and graduate students are directly involved in the satellite design, manufacturing and assembly, and will also take care of the spacecraft operations in orbit. The satellite weights about 12.5kg and consists of a cubical prism, 300mm side, with a modular structure made of six shop-machined Al trays, kept together by eight stainless steel bars. Four Al/Al honeycomb lateral panels, which are the support structure of glued solar panels, complete the satellite structure. This architecture has been selected in order to have a multi-purpose bus, to be used with minor changes for several missions, accommodating payloads with different volume and power requirements.

ALMASat-1 preparations

Last update: 16 January 2012

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