In May 2018, the PW-Sat2 satellite, built by members of the Students’ Space Association WUT was fully integrated, tested and prepared for launch. Since then, it has been waiting in the cleanroom for the next important step – integration with a QuadPack – a deployer in which the satellite will be located during the launch of the rocket. Successful integration with the QuadPack took place on July 26, 2018, at the headquarters of Innovative Space Logistics in Delft, the Netherlands. In autumn, the container will be transported to the United States, where it will be mounted inside the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fairing.
PW-Sat2 is a CubeSat satellite built by students of the Warsaw University of Technology. The main goal of its upcoming mission is to test the innovative deorbitation system in the form of a large sail. Deployment of this system will shorten the satellite’s lifetime in orbit from over fifteen years to several months. This is a very important invention in the context of more and more serious problem of space debris.
The satellite has been designed since 2013 by a team of students united in the Students’ Space Association of the Warsaw University of Technology, settled at the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering in 1996. In 2016, a contract was signed to launch PW-Sat2 into orbit aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled to lift-off in late autumn 2018. At the turn of 2017 and 2018 PW-Sat2 satellite passed all the necessary tests and this spring was already prepared for the launch.
PW-Sat2 will be launched onboard the Falcon 9 rocket with SSO-A mission from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. According to the latest data, along with PW-Sat2, more than 70 other satellites, mostly CubeSats, will be brought into space. The launch of the rocket is currently planned for November 2018, however, this date is subject to change.
After reaching the desired orbit, satellites on the rocket’s deck will be gradually released. From the deployer, shared with the German satellite MOVE-II, PW-Sat2 will be pushed out as the second, and then its basic subsystems will be launched. During the first 30 minutes, there will be radio silence, during which basic data from several device subsystems will be collected. After 40 minutes, antennas will be opened, followed by an attempt to stabilize the satellite’s rotation. PW-Sat2 mission will last 40 days during which several experiments will be carried out.
Over 100 people took part in the PW-Sat2 project during the past 5 years. The last weeks were primarily devoted to the preparation of the ground station and software for radio amateurs. Together with SoftwareMill, we will provide an web application that allows you to follow the satellite mission status and upload messages received from the orbit. Thanks to cooperation with programmers from Future Processing, it was possible to create an onboard computer software and a number of tools supporting tests, daily work and satellite communication – some of them are already available on our GitHub, and even more will be there soon. We are also working on the final documentation of the project, which we wish to make available to the public along with the code repositories used during the development of the satellite.
We are also looking for support in sending a group of students to California for the Falcon 9 rocket launch. Everyone willing to help us in this undertaking is invited to write to email@example.com.
Background image: Inna Uwarowa – PW-Sat2 project coordinator – in the cleanroom of the Space Research Center PAS. Photo: Maciej Urbanowicz
Article translated by Alicja Kasjanowicz. Thanks a lot ❤️