sfl logo
University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies
Space flight laboratory
Smaller Satellites, Bigger Return

CanX-1: System

January 25, 2014

The design of the basic CanX nanosatellite bus has been made as flexible as possible with future missions in mind. It is able to incorporate any payload that meets the power restrictions of the nanosatellite, while allocating up to 50% of the volume and 25% of the mass to payloads. Access to the satellite exterior is possible through different solar array designs. Larger payloads can be accommodated by enlarging the structure of the basic CanX bus, and by adopting a suitable launch separation system.

CMOS Imager

canx1_exterior
The imaging system is comprised of color and monochrome CMOS imagers built around chips from Agilent Technologies. Both communicate with the On-Board Computer (OBC) and are used for ground-controlled horizon sensing and star-tracking experiments.

Active Three-Axis Magnetic Stabilization

canx1_interior

Three custom magnetorquer coils and a Honeywell three-axis digital magnetometer are used in conjunction with a B-dot control algorithm for spacecraft detumbling and coarse pointing experiments.

GPS Position Determination

Accurate position determination is accomplished using a low-cost commercial Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver that has been modified to work in low Earth orbit.

ARM7 On-Board Computer

Housekeeping and payload application routines run on a powerful ARM7 On-Board Computer. The computer also implements B-dot detumbling and error-detection and correction algorithms. The Atmel ARM7 OBC operates at 3.3 V, consumes 0.4 W at a speed of 40 MHz, and is equipped with 512 KB of Static-RAM and 32 MB of Flash-RAM.

All software is custom-written in C. To reduce CanX-1 mission complexity, no operating system is used. The OBC is capable of running a real-time operating system, however, such as eCos. This feature will enable more complex missions in the future.

Telemetry and Command

Telemetry and command is handled by a half-duplex transceiver operating on fixed frequencies in the 430 MHz amateur satellite band in accordance with IARU guidelines and ITU regulations. The 500 mW transmitter downlinks data and telemetry at 1200 bps using a MSK over FM signal (it appears as two tones, 1.2 kHz and 1.8 kHz at baseband, alternating rapidly). The antenna system consists of two quarter-wave monopole antennas oriented at 90° and combined in phase to produce a linearly polarized signal. The amateur call sign used by CanX-1 is VA3SFL.

Triple-Junction Solar Cells and Lithium-Ion Power

The satellite and its payloads are powered by Emcore triple-junction cells (26% maximum efficiency). Energy is stored in a Polystor 3.7 V, 3600 mAh lithium-ion battery pack to handle peak loads and provide power during eclipse periods. In addition, the power system incorporates peak-power tracking, over-current protection, power shunting, and an emergency load shed system.

Aluminum 7075 & 6061-T6 Structure

The total mass of the satellite structure including the frame, all exterior surfaces, and internal mounting hardware is 373 g, or 37% of the total satellite mass. Simulations with 12 G loads showed a 30% margin to the maximum allowable stress, while thermal analysis predicted a -20 to +40°C temperature range using passive thermal control. Vibration testing was performed on the satellite at MDRobotics. The “heavy structure” design resulted in a first natural frequency of approximately 800 Hz.

LATEST NEWS

UTIAS-SFL Students Win Significant Awards for their Technical Papers
Aug 14 2018
SFL-Led Nanosatellite Team Receives Canadian Alouette Award for Precise Autonomous Formation Flight
May 17 2018
NorSat-3 Ordered by Norwegian Space Centre, Satellite Under Construction at SFL
Jan 10 2018
Norwegian AIS Satellites See Far More Ships
Jan 10 2018
BRITE Reveals Spots on Supergiant Star Drive Spirals in Stellar Wind
Oct 24 2017
CLARA on NorSat-1 Successfully Switched on for the First Time
Aug 25 2017
Norwegian Satellites Launched Successfully and Healthy
Jul 14 2017
GHGSat Unveils Satellite Imagery
May 23 2017
Dubai Space Centre Orders Environmental Monitoring Satellite from SFL
May 16 2017
After Only One Week, CanX-7 Shows Drag Sails are Effective at Deorbiting Satellite
May 11 2017
CanX-7 Successfully Deploys Drag Sails kicking off Deorbiting Demonstration
May 04 2017
GHGSat Announces 1000th Measurement – Two Months Ahead of Schedule
Apr 07 2017
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) Nanosatellite Validates Aircraft Tracking, Prepares for Deorbit Demo
Mar 30 2017
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) to Develop Microsatellites for Greenhouse Gas Monitoring
Mar 24 2017
CanX-7 Aircraft Tracking and Deorbiting Demo Satellite Launched, Contacted, and Healthy
Sep 26 2016
GHGSat-D (CLAIRE) Bus Commissioning Ahead of Schedule
Jun 27 2016
M3MSat Launched and Successfully Contacted
Jun 22 2016
GHGSat-D (CLAIRE) Launches Successfully and First Contact Indicates Good Health
Jun 22 2016
Deep Space Industries and SFL selected to provide satellites for HawkEye 360’s Pathfinder mission
May 26 2016
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) to Provide LEO Bus to SSL
May 10 2016
NORSAT-1 Launch Postponed Due to Faulty Bracket Provided by Arianespace
Apr 14 2016
BRITE-Constellation Sees Stars in a New Light
Feb 05 2016
Deep Space Industries Teams with UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory to Demonstrate Autonomous Spacecraft Maneuvering
Jan 26 2016
exactView-9 Launched Successfully and Contacted
Sep 28 2015
SFL’s Josh Newman Wins 1st Place in Small Satellite Student Competition for CanX-4 and CanX-5 Formation Flying Mission Contribution
Aug 12 2015
NORSAT-2 Contract Awarded to SFL by Norwegian Space Centre
Jul 13 2015
CanX-4&5 Formation Flying Mission Accomplished
Nov 05 2014
CanX-4 & CanX-5 Formation Flying Mission, One Month in Space
Jul 30 2014
Space Flight Laboratory Launches Five Satellites in Two Weeks
Jul 08 2014
AISSat-2 Successfully Launched
Jul 08 2014
Update on BRITE-Toronto and BRITE-Montreal
Jul 03 2014
Indian rocket successfully launches two Canadian satellites
Jun 30 2014
Two low-cost, car battery-sized Canadian space telescopes launched today
Jun 19 2014
UniBRITE and BRITE-Austria Commissioned and Operating Successfully
Feb 25 2014
Canadian Space Agency Awards Propulsion System Development Contract to SFL
Dec 02 2013
BRITE-PL1, WNISat-1, and GOMX-1 Launch Successfully
Nov 21 2013
Norwegian Space Centre Awards AISSat-3 Project to SFL
Jul 08 2013
SFL Wins Contract for First Norwegian Science Satellite – NORSAT-1
Jun 14 2013
UniBRITE Achieves Arcminute-Level Fine Pointing for First of its Kind Space Astronomy Mission
Jun 09 2013
Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Demonstration Satellite Contract Awarded
May 01 2013
Next Generation Automatic Identification System Satellites to be Developed under Communitech Program
Apr 19 2013
World's Smallest Astronomy Satellites In Orbit! (Toronto Star Article)
Feb 25 2013
Austrian BRITE Satellites Launched Successfully and Healthy! (Globe and Mail article)
Feb 25 2013
Microsatellite Science and Technology Centre (MSTC) Opens its Doors to the World
May 25 2012
Canadian Space Agency Awards Micro-mission Cluster Pilots Project to SFL
Mar 28 2012
SPACE-SI Awards NEMO-HD Contract to SFL
Dec 22 2011
Canada adds two satellites to BRITE Constellation
Jan 19 2011
AISSat-1 celebrates six months of success on-orbit, first nanosatellite with high performance pointing
Jan 12 2011
Norway signs AISSat-2 deal
Jan 06 2011
New Microsatellite Science and Technology Center (MSTC) planned for completion in late 2011
Dec 15 2010
View All News Articles
© 2014 University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Lab. All rights reserved.