Thursday, 11 July 2013

PocketQub, femtosats and 3d models

I'm still very interested in all things diy space and am still reading a lot around Cubesats, however the same gentleman who came up with the Cubesat standard also came up with a standard for a smaller "femtosatellite" called PocketQub. They are similar in design to the 10x10x10cm cubesat except 1/8 the volume so the main form is a 5x5x5cm cube. As with cubesats Professor Bob Twiggs also came up with a deployment device and this device dictates that the PocketQub sits on a baseplate that is 1.6mm thick...interestingly in the specification document it's suggested that this could be made from plain old FR4 copper clad PCB board! What has really interested me is that this standard is even more accessable than Cubesat for DIY'ers and is again, like cubesat, open source. Machiningwise only the baseplate needs to be made to reasonably high tolerances...but yet could still be made using only hand tools..heck I reckon I could cut a baseplate pretty close with a guillotine and file it into tolerance pretty easily. In fact reading here the deployment system was made only using hand tools with no special milling type devices. When you look at some of the images of PocketQub floating around the web you can see that actually 5x5x5 in this day and age gives a reasonable amount of volume for a vast amount of tech. Hell I keep thinking that you could cram about half a dozen arduino pro mini and a battery into a 5x5x5 cube!!

Sadly I can't find any evidence that this standard has ever actually made space, as far as I can tell some PocketQub's were set to launch but a failure in the delivery vehicle ended their mission! I would be very happy to hear if anyone knows of any PocketQub currently in development or of any PocketQub that have flown.

Just incase this fuels anyones interest in PocketQub I have done a quick 3d sketchup of the baseplate and also the PocketQub size cube sat on a backplate, here's some pics and links to the models for download for sketchup.