Credit: NASA – CubeSats

CubeSats definition

A CubeSat is a type of Nanosatellite, proposed by prof. Jordi Puig-Suari of California Polytechnic State University and Bob Twiggs of Stanford University in 1999.

A CubeSat in shape is 10 cm × 10 cm × 13 cm in size, with a mass <1.3 kg.

The basic unit of a CubeSat is 1U and comes in multiples of 1U e.g. 2U, 3U, 6U…

Why CubeSats?

CubeSats have become very popular as an educational tool in academia and over 750 are launched since 2000.

Several countries have chosen them as their first satellites for capacity building and gaining necessary skills for design, manufacturing and testing and because CubeSat components can be found Off-The-Shelf (COTS). The technology is well-established, standards are well defined, and they are considered low in cost and risk. 

CubeSats are put in low earth orbit by launch vehicles and are intended to perform scientific research and explore new space technologies and trends.

Examples of CubeSats in the region

Satellite NameCountryOperatorPlatformPayload
MeznSatUAEAmerican Univ. Ras Alkhaima, UAESA, KU3U CubeSatThoth Technologies Argus 2000 infrared spectrometer + low resolution camera
Nayif SatUAEMohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and American University of Sharjah (AUS)1U CubeSatTelemetry will be transmitted on 145.940 MHz, 1.2 kb BPSK (FUNcube standard). The SSB/CW transponder uplink passband is 435.045-435.015 MHz, and the downlink passband is 145.960-145.990 MHz.
Jordan JY1-Sat (FUNcube 6, JO 97, Jordan-OSCAR 97)JordanCrown Prince Foundation1U CubeSatAmateur radio linear transponder 435/145 MHz and a Slow-Scan Digital Video (SSDV) system to transmit stored images Developed by engineering students from Jordanian universities and the Royal Jordanian Radio Amateur Society (RJRAS)
LibanSatLebanonNational Council for Scientific Research (CNRS-L), Beirut, Lebanon1U CubeSatThoth Technologies Argus 1000 IR Spectrometer GHG detection with hardware from mainly ISIS and GOMSpace. Developed by students from several universities.
What are CubeSats? (Video by NASA) What can CubeSats do? (video by NASA)