How College Students Built a Satellite With AA Batteries and a $20 Microprocessor
“As luck would have it, a group of students and researchers at Brown University just made promising headway for both issues.”
Last year, the team successfully launched their breadloaf-sized cube satellite (or cubesat) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the comparatively low production cost of $10,000, with a dramatically shortened lifespan estimated at just five years. What’s more, much of the microsat was constructed using accessible, off-the-shelf components, such as a popular $20 microprocessor powered by 48 AA batteries. In total, SBUDNIC — a play on Sputnik as well as an acronym of the students’ names — is likely the first of its kind to be made almost entirely from materials not specifically designed for space travel.
Additionally, the group attached a 3D-printed drag sail made from Kapton film that unfurled once the cubesat reached orbit roughly 520 kilometers above Earth. Since tracking began in late May 2022, the students’ satellite has already lowered down to 470 kilometers — well below its fellow rocketmates aboard the Falcon 9, which remain around 500 kilometers high.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.