ESA title

AAUSAT5 mission

28/08/2015 754 views 1 likes
ESA / Education / CubeSats - Fly Your Satellite!

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

Description Date
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

Description Date
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

>3 months


Disposal AAUSAT5 will be passively deorbited using the effect of orbital drag After 3-8 months (<1year)