There's a reason why we refer to our Chief Mechanical Engineer Adam Reif as "Close Tolerance Reif," or CTR. Pumpkin customers benefit from Adam's obsession with turning out a quality product at a good price. The U.S. Naval Academy's Bob Bruninga sent us a thank-you email yesterday, as USNA was completing the assembly of their PSAT2, which utilizes a COTS Pumpkin 1U structure:
After a three year design, leading to today and after finally (for the first time) snapping the top panel on our 1.5U CubeSat and having everything fit perfectly, I just had to stop in celebration and come over and send this Email.
It just fits. Everything in the 1.5U frame just fit together perfectly. Especially since we have a 1.2kg central ballast (for longer orbit) and total 1.5U mass of 2.8 kg.
The one mod I made was a small 0.1” notch at each of the corners of the side fame so that when it has slid down over the top of our full stack and the 1.2kg central mass (which is the precise dimensions of the walls so it can be screwed to the walls), that I can then use a small screwdriver at each corner post to get the side frame “started” when I go to remove it.
Without those slots, the fit of the side sleeve to the bottom is so perfect that there is nothing to get in there and pry it loose. Attached is stack photo.
Bob Bruninga, PE
US Naval Academy
Bob relates that PSAT2 is "Built by students for self training in radio art and only using Alumni GIFT funds." More info is available at http://aprs.org/psat2.html
Image courtesy of United States Naval Academy
From the joint JPL-Pumpkin ISARA project that began in 2012, today the 3U ISARA spacecraft is on-orbit and undergoing initial trials. ISARA is equipped with a deployable 24-cell Pumpkin PMDSAS solar array that also has a Ka-band reflectarray antenna on its backside. The conductive pattern on the reflectarray side is analogous to a Fresnel lens for Ka-band wavelengths, implemented as discrete patches arranged in a particular pattern. Pumpkin worked with Dr. Richard Hodges and his group at JPL to develop a process whereby the JPL-designed reflectarray could be incorporated into Pumpkin's PMDSAS deployable solar panel technology and manufacturing, to yield flat and extremely stiff dual-purpose panels. Naturally, Pumpkin's space-grade hinges were used on these panels.
In the images above, you can see the backside of the deployed Pumpkin 3-panel solar array + reflectarray. The metallic-color pieces between the panels are the Pumpkin hinges that enable the reflectarray to wrap around the ISARA structure when stowed. Solar power (from the solar cells on the opposite sides of these panels, not visible in these images) is routed from the central panel into the 3U bus at the hinge interface located at the base of the center panel. The smaller 4x4 array of patches on the opposite side of these fisheye-view images captured on orbit is the feed antenna for the reflectarray.
Dr. Hodges reported on January 16 that the Pumpkin solar array is functioning properly. The Aerospace Corporation is currently doing checkout of the various spacecraft bus components (e.g., Star Tracker and ACS). We wish them luck with this ground-breaking effort!
On-orbit images courtesy of JPL / NASA. More information at https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cubesat/missions/isara.php.
The Australian government's Defense Science & Technology Group's Buccaneer Risk Mitigation Mission (BRMM) CubeSat launched on Saturday aboard the penultimate Delta II launch, from Vandenburg AFB. DST Group has been in contact with Buccaneer, successfully updated some critical configuration parameters, and will now "settle into a normal tempo of spacecraft operations."
Buccaneer is a 3U MISC 3-class nanosatellite with full 3-axis attitude control and RF payload(s). Pumpkin developed the bus, structure, and deployable solar panels, and integrated the UHF, S-band and GPS antennas, Panel Release Mechanisms (PRMs), various bus sensors and other mission-specific components. As part of our typical fixed-firm price (FFP) nanosatellite offerings, this MISC 3 is highly customized for DST Group. Payload integration was verified virtually via CAD exchanges, and then physically in Australia, without any Pumpkin intervention.
Pumpkin is registered with DDTC and can perform ITAR-affected work for entities outside of the USA, subject to license approval.
We wish DST Group the best with their BRRM CubeSat, and hope to work with them again in the future.
Twelve complete 2U CubeSat Kit skeletonized chassis are ready to ship. Each chassis consists of a dual-switch Baseplate Assembly, a 2U Chassis Walls, and a Cover Plate Assembly; all skeletonized. This is a repeat customer in the USA. We wish them luck with their future mission(s)!
NovaWurks is set deploy one of its Hyper-Integrated Satlets (HISats) from the ISS later this week. Pumpkin has partnered with NovaWurks (formerly NGC's NovaWorks) since 2010 on cutting-edge small space technology. In 2010, Pumpkin built the world's first deployable 56W solar array for NGC's NovaWork's Caerus/Mayflower 3U CubeSat, all on a handshake and in ten weeks. More recently, Pumpkin has partnered with NovaWurks on the development of a variety of small satellite technologies, two of which are on the ISS HISat. Pumpkin's space-grade products enable both modular and high-power energy collection within the HISat architecture.
Additionally, Pumpkin advised Stanford University's SSDL on its SNAPS 0.2U-size imager, an autonomous HD-video capture device for tethered use on microsats. The ISS HISat will utilize SNAPS in the upcoming mission. Former SSDL students involved in SNAPS are excited to see their efforts finally get to orbit!
We wish NovaWurks all the best with their HISat architecture. More information on this deployment is available online. There is also a nice overview of HISat and this mission at NASA.
The U.S. Army SMDC's Kestrel Eye II M imaging microsat has deployed from the ISS, and first contact was made at 08:01 CDT today. Kestrel Eye was built by Adcole Maryland (formerly Maryland Aerospace, Inc (MAI)). Pumpkin was involved in the early development of the first Kestrel Eye (originally called NanoImageSat), supplying the C&DH module and prototype 35mm image capture subsystem.
Pumpkin has delivered multiple solar panels to another SMDC program with spaceflight heritage -- SMDC One, a 3U CubeSat-based system.
Pumpkin has worked with Adcole Maryland / MAI since 2008 on integrating their MAI-100 and MAI-400 ADACS into a variety of Pumpkin 3U and 6U CubeSats, including the NRO's Colony I program (MAI-100), and various Pumpkin MISC 3 and 6U SUPERNOVA spacecraft (MAI-400 with dual IR Earth Horizon Sensors). We congratulate Adcole Maryland on their most recent success -- they've earned it!
More information on the Kestrel Eye II deployment is available online.
Pumpkin supplies solar panels to a wide range of nanosatellites through our proprietary Pumpkin Modular Deployable Solar Array Systems (PMDSAS) technology, now in its sixth generation.
We just received word that the solar panels on the 3U BGUSat CubeSat continues to work perfectly 7 months into the BGUSat mission. Pumpkin built a series of deployable solar panels in engineering model and flight unit form for BGUSat. BGUSat utilizes a somewhat unusual topology, with a 5S+2S arrangement of seven solar cells per panel. Additionally, BGUSat used Pumpkin's CubeSat Hinges, four of Pumpkin's Panel Release Mechanism (PRM) to release each of the panels, along with a Pumpkin COTS 3U CubeSat Kit structure. When deployed, the solar panels are in a single plane, in a "propeller" configuration.
Pumpkin will be presenting a 1-hour, in-depth look into SUPERNOVA each day at 2:30pm at the SmallSat conference. Come by Booths 5 & 6 for an invitation!
Because a slot for an alternate presentation opened up, Andrew Kalman presented "Development of a Smart High-power Battery for CubeSats" at 16:45 on Sunday during the Workshop Session XI "Education II" on behalf of David Wright, who couldn't attend.
Our presentation outlines the thinking behind the design of Pumpkin's BM 2 battery module, that combines a high-volume battery gas gauge chip with additional intelligence from a Pumpkin SupMCU, to deliver class-leading performance and capabilities in batteries for small spacecraft.