DYNACUBE – Denel Dynamics Interns make good progress

DynaCube – Picture by Keith Campbell

The SARL report that three members of the DynaCube CubeSat team have now got their amateur radio licenses and more will be taking the exam in May.

The 2012 Interns from the Denel Dynamics Engineering Academy of Learning have made good progress with their DynaCube Satellite project. The Interns are all engineers who last year graduated from various universities in South Africa and spend a year working on a project before they are assigned to various departments in the company.

The 2012 Interns were tasked with designing, manufacturing and commissioning a 1 U Cube Satellite and its associated ground support systems. It was required that the satellite be launched into orbit and perform a relevant space science mission. The launch would be provided by an external launch provider.

The 20 Interns selected to participate in the 2012 programme were divided into three project teams. Each team was tasked with specific outcomes.

Team Ground Zero was responsible for the Ground Control Station as well as communications equipment on-board the satellite.

Team Virtuoso was responsible for the On-board Computer (OBC), the power system, the satellite structure and telemetry data.

It was decided, in the early stages of the project, that a duplicate satellite should be built which will remain on Earth. This satellite would allow the team to perform software maintenance and troubleshooting before the change or update is implemented on the satellite in orbit.

The main tasks of Team Frodo were to specify the satellite payload, the required sensors, the attitude control and the launch of the satellite.

The primary payloads are particle radiation sensors and structural temperature sensors. The radiation sensors will be used to map radiation density and distribution over the South Atlantic Anomaly. This is the area on the Earth’s surface where the Van Allen radiation belts are closest to the surface. Numerous satellite hardware failures have been noted over this area.

The secondary payload is a camera capable of taking images and sending them to the OBC for storage. It was decided that a VGA serial JPEG camera would be used, as it would be able to take photographs fast enough to prevent blurring, whilst also doing its own image processing.

The launch will most likely only happen close to the end of 2013 and possibly only as late as the end of 2014. The funding of the launch, which may be as high as R1 300 000, is a challenge that needs to be overcome.

All systems have been tested and are now ready for integration. Although the Interns have come to the end of their year and will start their careers in various departments of Denel Dynamics, they are dedicated to complete the project in their free time.

Currently three members of the group have obtained their amateur radio license while a few more members of the team are planning to write the May examination.

DynaCube frequencies have been coordinated by the IARU Satellite Advisory Panel to operate on a downlink of 145.980 MHz, an uplink on 435.050 MHz  with a tracking beacon on 145.840 MHz.

Story source South African Radio League (SARL)

Denel Dynamics unveils DynaCube nano satellite http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/denel-dynamics-unveils-dynacube-nano-satellite-2012-12-06

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Denel Dynamics  http://www.deneldynamics.co.za/

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel status http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru/