Topic outline

  • Introduction

    Alba CubeSat UniPD is a student team from the University is a student team of the University of Padova that aims at launching in space for the first time in the history of the University a satellite entirely developed by students. The team was selected, along with 5 other European teams, to participate in the European Space Agency  (ESA) programme called Fly Your Satellite!  - Design Booster. This programme offers the opportunity for student teams to be supported and guided by ESA specialists during the consolidation of nano-satellite design.

    The team is developing AlbaSat, a 2U CubeSat with four distinct mission objectives: (1) study the micro-debris environment in orbit around the Earth, (2) measure the microvibrations on board the satellite, (3) do precise orbit determination through laser ranging and (4) to investigate alternative systems for possible Satellite Quantum Communication applications on nanosatellites. The data collected by these technical experiments will enrich the current knowledge of the space environment and will support the research activities currently carried out within the University of Padova.

    To reach the mission objectives, AlbaSat features four payloads: (1) an impact sensor, (2) a micro-vibration sensor, (3) a number of Corner Cube Retroreflector and (4) a Modulating Retro Reflector. In addition, several subsystems are used to guarantee the success of the mission: Telemetry, Tracking and Control System (TT&C), Electric Power System (EPS), Attitude Determination Control System (ADCS), On-Board Computer (OBC).

    The team collaborates with QuantumFuture, a team from the department of information engineering (DEI) specialized in Satellite Quantum Communication. In addition, the radioamateurs section of Padova (ARI Padova) provides technical support in the development of a Ground Station for communication with the satellite.

  • The Payloads

    AlbaSat has four different mission objectives:

    1. to collect in-situ measurements of the sub-mm space debris environment in LEO

    2. to study the micro-vibration environment on the satellite throughout different mission phases;

    3. to do precise orbit and attitude determination through laser ranging;

    4. to investigate alternative systems for possible Satellite Quantum Communication applications on nanosatellites.

    The following slideshow presents the payloads under development to reach the four mission objectives.
  • Fly Your Satellite! - Design Booster programme

    The Fly Your Satellite! Design Booster pilot edition is an European Space Agency (ESA) programme dedicated to the CubeSat teams from Universities across Europe. By participating to the programme, the CubeSat teams are supported by ESA experts in the consolidation of the design of their satellite. Indeed, the design of the satellite is reviewed by ESA specialists, who identify potential improvements or issues with design and assist in solving them, allowing teams to maximize their chances of success with the continuation of their missions. In addition, students will benefit from training opportunities and webinars and introduced to common practices in the space domain.