NUTS - NTNU Test Satellite, a Norwegian CubeSat Project

The satellite

System overview 

Mechanical system
The mechanical system comprises all components of the satellite with a mass and volume, i.e. everything that isn't software. This ranges from the location and fixation of the batteries to the thickness, design and manufacturing of carbon fiber panels for the frame. The biggest challenge so far has been to design a structure that can withstand heavy loads, be reliable in space and have a reasonably simple manufacturing process.

Ground station
The ground station receives signals from the satellite and consists of an antenna array that can be turned and adjusted in order to track the satellite while it is in orbit. A ham radio and a computer decodes all signals from the passing satellite, logs the data and displays it in a human-friendly way.

On Board Computer
The onboard computer (OBC) functions as the brain of the satellite. It receives and executes commands from the ground station, and autonomously manages day-to-day tasks on the satellite. The OBC is able to store multiple images before they are downloaded to the ground station, and it also continuously monitors the health of the satellite for diagnostic and control purposes.

ADCS
The Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) is responsible for adjusting the attitude of NUTS in order to make the payload camera point towards the desired target. Several sensors are used to estimate the attitude of the satellite while three perpendicular coils are used as actuators by interacting with the Earth's magnetic field.

Electronic Power System
The Electronic Power System (EPS) does the job of harvesting energy from solar panels on the outside of the satellite. It charges the satellite’s battery packs and provides the satellite with two regulated voltages which can be used by other electronics. The EPS also provides sensor data to determine the remaining battery capacity and their health.

Payload
The satellite's main payload consists a camera, which is responsible for taking visual ranged pictures of the Earth. The camera system consists of an visible-light spectrum image sensor and a fixed lens.

Communication
The radio system is responsible for communication between the satellite and the ground station. The communication system consists of two radios - one in the UHF-band and one in the VHF-band, both operating on the ham radio frequencies.

For more information about the system and system components please go to the project's publications and master theses