Our CubeSat is considered a system comprised of individual subsystems. Each subsystem serves its respective purpose integral to mission success. Listed below is each subsystem and a description of the work entailed.
Langmuir Probe: The Langmuir probe subsystem encompasses the design, testing, and data collected of a Langmuir plasma probe. The plasma probe will measure positive and negative charge within the lower ionosphere.
Temperature: Temperature sensors will be placed on each side of the CubeSat, as well as on internal components. This subsystem is important because it will give insight to what environment the CubeSat experiences during flight leading up to and within re-entry.
Attitude Determination: Attitude determination is integral to mission success. Attitude Determination’s subsystem ensures the CubeSat is oriented in the right direction and maintains the correct spin rate for data collection. Components such as mu-metal and fins will be utilized as a passive form of attitude control.
Command and Data Handling: Considering all of the electrical components necessary for the mission, Command and Data Handling is the center of mission success. This subsystem will interface different electronic components and switch the instruments to the correct sampling modes.
Electric Power: UNITE’s mission would not be possible without power. The Electric Power Subsystem powers the mission with its solar cells and batteries.
Communications: In order to communicate with the CubeSat, the Communications Subsystem is in charge of selecting a simplex, duplex, and the antennas proper for our mission. With these components, the team will be able to send commands to and receive data from the CubeSat during our mission.
Flight Dynamics: Understanding flight dynamics is important for UNITE’s success. Flight Dynamics provides the team with an understanding of what our orbits will look like and what conditions may be experienced.
Drag: Drag is another subsystem important to the mission’s goals. This subsystem will create orbital decay models for comparison with data collected during the mission. Flight dynamics in the lower ionosphere, especially during final hours of flight before burning up, is relatively unexplored.
Thermal: The Thermal Subsystem has two main goals consisting of thermal control and expected temperatures during flight. Thermal provides thermal models to understand what conditions the internal components will understand. Also, a thermal model will be compared with temperature sensor data to further understand final hours of re-entry.
Mechanical/Structures: Mechanical and Structures is the foundation for mission success. This subsystem interfaces with every subsystem in order to provide a platform for a mission to be possible. Mechanical and Structures provides a 3D CAD model of the CubeSat with components placed to meet launch provider requirements. This subsystem also serves to oversee environmental testing including vibration, thermal takeout, center of gravity placement, and sometimes shock testing.
GPS: The GPS subsystem is charged with selecting a GPS that will communicate where the CubeSat is during the mission. This is especially important to understand our data during flight and during re-entry. Contrary to some other CubeSats, UNITE will know exactly where our satellite is and when our satellite has burned up based off of constant communication with GlobalStar satellites.
Ground Support: Ground Support Subsystem will provide software to communicate with the CubeSat. This subsystem will also serve to unpack data received and make sense of our equipment’s readings.