CubeSat, a modular type of standardized modern small satellites, have been gaining steady popularity and attention from universities and space industries. In addition to education purpose, CubeSats have various promising applications as low-cost space exploration vehicles for technology demonstrations, multi-point observations of space environment, and monitoring/reporting proper deployment of expensive deep space instruments.
Antennas are critical components for CubeSat missions. A CubeSat antenna may provide some or all of the following functions: telemetry, tracking, command (TT\&C), high speed downlink for payload data, receiving positioning data, and inter-satellite cross links. Most often, different antennas are required to keep the CubeSat assembly in modular fashion. On the other hand, antenna engineers strive to create solutions that could pack more functionality into one unit. This brings up a need to understand basics of CubeSat development cycle and link budget analysis, so that an electrical engineer would have sound knowledge of limiting factors (posed by the mechanical system and hardware of a CubeSat) to the antennas design.
With rapid advancement of electronics, novel mechanical design, and aerospace technology, new progress in CubeSats is emerging every day. This calls for interests and early involvements of creative young minds. The objective of this presentation is to convey the basics of CubeSat development cycle, launch methods, typical CubeSat orbits, link budget analysis, various antenna solutions, and feasible classroom projects.