Voyages of Aalto-1

Space: the final frontier. These are the adventures of the satellite Aalto-1 and its crew to explore near Earth space and to research the blue planet, to seek out solutions for difficult engineering problems and to boldly reach for the stars.

Despite the fact that mankind has been sending probes and satellites to space for over 50 years, it still remains a tough challenge to beat. For government organizations and big businesses with billions to spend, challenges can be overcome, but for smaller organizations space tech is still expensive and the launch prices reaching thousands of euro’s / dollars per kilo are still a burden.

However, during the last few years a development of CubeSat standard has dropped the price of the components and lowered the development hurdles for educational institutes to build their own satellites. Means alone are not enough for us to build a satellite, but thanks to the cooperation with our Finnish partners Finnish Meteorological Institute, VTT Technical Research Center Finland and Universities of Helsinki and Turku, we also have a reason to build the satellite. FMIs electrostatic plasma brake, UTUs and UHs  radiation monitor and VTT’s Fabry-Perot spectrometer all can benefit from testing in space, thus creating a need for a satellite.

Aalto-1 is an ambitious CubeSat mission featuring multiple scientific instruments, advanced three-axis stabilized attitude control and high-bandwidth S-band microwave downlink. Our satellite will be launched to a sun synchronous polar orbit at around 700km altitude. What are CubeSats, attitude controls, polar orbits and so forth?  What are the thousands of problems we face if we want to send operational instruments to space and how do we overcome them? By following this blog, you can learn answers to these and many other questions and keep up to date about the progress of our voyage to reach for the space. You are also welcome to send your own questions to this blog and we will try to answer them.