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payload mc camera memory vc gps transmitter battery tail vane experiment ThumbSat in Space

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Your experiment/payload

Various sizes and masses
Typically: 48x48x(15-32)mm
Mass: Up to 25g

Main Computer

Microcontroller
Built-in digital camera interface

Camera

Active array of 2048(H) x 1536(V) pixels.
Optional lenses and locations
Uses:
Microscope
Macro camera
Telescope
Scanned configuration:
"Selfie" option,
- on shape memory alloy boom

Memory

128MB and 512MB Flash

Voltage Converter

Increases low voltages to 5V
Squeezes maximum energy out of
- the battery

GPS

Uses:
Position-sensitive experiments
Targeted download of data

Transmitter

100mW
Operating in 400MHz band

Battery

Lithium Thionyl Chloride
Primary type
Highest available energy density

Deployable tail/antenna

On shape memory alloy boom

Deployable vane

Uses: Aerodynamic stability
Drag enhancement
Radar signature enhancement

Experiment Interface

Variable, but typically:
3.6V unregulated power, 1.8Wh
5V regulated power
6x analogue in
1x analogue out
-(may be expanded using
PWM channels)
2x USART interfaces
1x I2C interface
1x SPI interface
10x digital I/O
payload mc camera memory vc gps transmitter battery tail vane experiment
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WELCOME TO Orbit

If you've ever dreamed of putting an experiment into space, ThumbSat is your one-stop-shop. We'll provide the launch, the basic satellite and all of the hard parts like the paperwork. All you have to provide is the experiment, and we can even help with that. We'll get your project into orbit with the minimum of fuss, within a few months, starting at around $20,000 - far quicker and cheaper than the alternatives.


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ThumbSat and ThumbNet are sister projects designed to promote science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics in students, university groups and citizen scientists, young and old, around the world.


Please explore the site and learn how and why you can benefit from both projects.


Register for ThumbSat & ThumbNet updates:

Register
Your experiment/payload Various sizes and masses
Typically: 48x48x(15-32)mm
Mass: Up to 25g
Main computer Microcontroller
Built-in digital camera interface
Camera High definition CMOS
Active array of 2048(H) x 1536(V) pixels.
Optional lenses and locations
Uses:
Microscope
Macro camera
Telescope
Scanned configuration:
"Selfie" option, on shape memory alloy boom
Memory 128MB and 512MB Flash
Voltage converter Increases low voltages to 5V
Squeezes maximum energy out of the battery
GPS Uses:
Position-sensitive experiments
Targeted download of data
Transmitter 100mW
Operating in 400MHz band
Battery Lithium Thionyl Chloride
Primary type
Highest available energy density
Deployable tail/antenna On shape memory alloy boom
Deployable vane Uses: Aerodynamic stability
Drag enhancement
Radar signature enhancement
Experiment Interface Variable, but typically:
3.6V unregulated power, 1.8Wh
5V regulated power
6x analogue in
1x analogue out (may be expanded using PWM channels)
2x USART interfaces
1x I2C interface
1x SPI interface
10x digital I/O

Mission Control

Here you will be able to select a mission, view its actual or planned orbit, and find out information related to that mission, such as nature of the mission, and links to mission data.

plusFuture Missions (2)

Launch ID Deployer ID Mission Name Launch Date Experiment Type Organization Orbit Data
RL Q4 2016 Launch 1TS1Star 115th Dec 2016
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Multiple small payloads to Earth orbit.PrivateView
Altitude: 500km
Speed: 7.6km/s
Period: 95minutes
Semi major axis: 6880km
Semi minor axis: 6880km
Eccentricity: 0
Inclination: 98°
RAAN: 0 °
Arg of perigee:
Mean motion: 1.14225333333E-16 rad/s
Time in sunlight: 59 minutes
Time in shade: 36 minutes
Re-entry: 5th November 2017
RL Q1 2017 Launch 1TS2LomStar 115th Mar 2017
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A fantastic education and outreach project.PrivateView
Altitude: 500km
Speed: 7.6km/s
Period: 95minutes
Semi major axis: 6880km
Semi minor axis: 6880km
Eccentricity: 0
Inclination: 98°
RAAN: 0 °
Arg of perigee:
Mean motion: 1.14225333333E-16 rad/s
Time in sunlight: 59 minutes
Time in shade: 36 minutes
Re-entry: 3rd February 2018

plusGround Stations (203)

How to collect data from fast-moving satellites that are only within range of a ground radio receiver for minutes? Create a global network of internet-linked "grounds stations" - ThumbNet!


Every dot on the map above is a volunteer ThumbNet ground station. We're looking for more volunteers to fill those gaps on the map! Just add a simple antenna to the free radio receiver that we provide, run some software, and hear messages from space or elsewhere within half a day.


The most active volunteers will receive even more - the free tracking station described below. All you need is enthusiasm, a small space to mount an antenna/tracker where it can see the sky, a power source and internet access. No special knowledge, equipment or experience is needed.


It’s a great way to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and to be involved in a global project! Begin the volunteer process by filling out the ThumbNet Registration Form . In the meantime, if you want to discover more, read on...


The details...


The ThumbNet project has already begun changing the lives of students, educators and citizen scientists around the planet and is having a positive impact on the communities where it is active!


ThumbNet is an educational project encouraging students and average citizens around the globe to experiment with space science and engineering, while building a global network of monitoring stations for satellites in orbit, and we'd love for you to participate!


The concept is simple. Satellites in orbit are transmitting their data back to the ground, but due to their motion in orbit, a single station can only receive signals from a particular satellite for roughly 6 to 10 minutes. And that's just not enough time to get all of the mission data!


But, by locating antennas around the world and linking them together through the power of the internet, we can create a global network to remain in constant communication with the satellite. And that's where you can help.


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Due to the nature of the system and the simplicity of the components, there are thousands of locations around the globe that would be a perfect place to set up one these experiments.


Looking at the map above or expanding the Ground Station list proves that:

  • No large infrastructure or high voltage power is required
  • There is no special permitting needed
  • No radio regulations are being violated
  • No buildings or towers need to be constructed


For the first time ever, communities and high schools in tiny nations such as Christmas Island, or Sao Tome & Principe have the same opportunity to educate their students using services that previously were only available to large, well connected universities.


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We are looking for anyone (young or old, educated or uneducated, individuals or groups) who is interested in learning more about radio, space, science and engineering. All that is needed is a computer with an internet connection and a few square meters of space on the roof of a building to mount the tracking station.


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As the experimenter, you and your group will build a simple radio antenna (that looks like a TV aerial) that can be constructed in a morning with readily available materials.


The antenna will be combined with an easy to assemble kit, that we provide, that will allow you to set up your own ground station for tracking satellites in space and downloading their signals while operating in manual or fully automatic mode.


The tracker is capable of rotating 360 degrees or pointing 0 to 180 degrees in elevation. Perfect, for following any satellite that might be passing overhead.

In Manual Mode, the student uses the station's computer to send signals to the antenna tracker, telling it which direction to point to. Then, he or she can manually adjust the position of the antenna to follow the satellite and using the software provided, download and listen to the signals being broadcast. In Manual Mode, the tracking station's computer sends data to the ThumbNet server, but the server does not send commands to the remote station.

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In Automatic Mode, the tracking station receives commands from the ThumbNet server and also sends data back to the server for merging with other station data. The student can monitor the data being downloaded from the satellite, but cannot point the antenna to another direction without switching to Manual Mode. (Note - The station cannot be put into Manual Mode, if there is a ThumbSat satellite that is active and visible to the tracking station.)


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The default mode when powering up the station is Automatic Mode. If the station is left idle in Manual Mode for 30 minutes or longer, the station will switch itself to Automatic Mode and begin accepting commands from the ThumbNet server.

The internal workings and basic block diagram of the tracking station are shown in the images below. While it may LOOK complicated, we have spent a lot of time making sure that it is easy for anyone to assemble. Most of the design is simple "Plug and Play" components and only basic hand tools like a drill and screwdriver are required. Building the station is an excellent way to engage students immediately and provides them with a sense of ownership of the station and a better understanding of how and why it works.


Of course, we provide all of the software and procedures needed to operate the station and communicate effectively with the rest of the network.


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Tracking Station Front Cover


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Mechanical Install of the ThumbPointer Hardware.


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Prototype Board of Arduino Nano and Stepper Motor Drivers


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View of the AZ Homing Sensor and Trigger


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Non-Electronic Pieces Ready For Assembly.

The 3D printable files for the base tracking station are now available in the Virtual Classroom.




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