One of the most efficient means of training is based on hands-on practical training in which the trainees have the opportunity to design, build, test and finally launch their space objects. With this objective APSCO has initiated the Student Small Satellite (SSS) project, which is aimed to train the students and faculties from Member States (MSs) of APSCO to study space technology and satellite engineering through practical design of satellites until the flight model is made, and meanwhile contribute to the development of space education systems in APSCO Member States. The ultimate goal of this project is not only to enable universities to undertake student satellite design and development, but also to impart space technologies through a satellite project as well as hands-on training. Therefore, one of the most important and special aspects of the project is training/education.
Schematic Plan of SSS Project
Background of the project
The APSCO Student Small Satellite (SSS) project proposal was initiated in the Third Council Meeting of APSCO in September 2010. Three expert group meetings on SSS project were held on November 2011 in Beijing, China, on January 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey and on May 2015 in Shanghai, China respectively. After full communication, the SSS project was approved by APSCO council meeting as a basic activity in late 2015, and Beihang University was appointed as the leading university of the project. It aims on space technology and satellite engineering education and training through the whole process from the practical design, manufacturing, testing, assembly, integration of satellites to the final flight model and contribute to space education system of APSCO Member States.
According to requirements of the APSCO Council, the SSS project shall involve universities, institutes, and companies from multiple countries to accomplish the cooperation and engineering training, and to enable participant parties to gain hands-on practice in:
Satellite system design and system engineering
Satellite payload and sub-system design and development
Satellite assembly, integration, and testing (AIT)
Satellite launch and operation
Satellite payload data processing and application
From requirements and interests expressed by all Member States, the SSS project shall cover the following technology and application domains:
In-orbit technology demonstration
Space scientific experiments
Ground station network for operating a group of satellites for a joint mission
Based on the above requirements and consideration, it is agreed by APSCO Council to develop one micro-satellite named SSS-1 and two CubeSats named SSS-2A and SSS-2B in the project. The SSS-1 is a 30kg micro-satellite with dimension of no more than 350mm × 350mm × 650 mm, and both the SSS-2A/2B are 4.0kg with 3U CubeSat structure design. The three satellites construct a constellation named as APSCO SSS system.
Schematic Plan of SSS Project with satellites’ names
With the joint efforts of all APSCO Member States, the SSS project has been promoted successfully.
January 17, 2017- Contract of SSS-1 was signed between APSCO and Beihang University
May 18, 2017- Contract of SSS-2A was signed between APSCO and Shanghai Jiaotong University
March 5, 2018- Contract of SSS-2B was signed between APSCO and the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey-Space Technologies Research Institute
SSS Project Implementation Parties
The Kick-off Preparation Meeting - March 28-31, 2016 in Beijing, China
The Kick-off Meeting – December 12-15, 2016 in Beijing, China
The Preliminary Requirement Review Meeting (PRR) of SSS-1 – May 23-26, 2017 in Beijing, China
The Preliminary Design Review Meeting (PDR) of SSS-1 & PRR/PDR of SSS-2A – November 27- December 1, 2017 in Beijing, China
The System Critical Design Review Meeting (System CDR) of SSS-1 & SSS-2A / PRR&PDR of SSS-2B – April 16-25, 2018 in Ankara, Turkey
Associated Activity-Training programs
Besides the satellite constellation implementation, the APSCO SSS Project has two more channels for university students training with micro/cube satellite design and manufacturing, which are annual summer camp activity and degree education.
The First Summer Camp of APSCO SSS Project was held on August 14 - September 2, 2017 in Beijing, China. The training covering over 13 topics were given to nearly 40 students from Member States of APSCO.
The training covered various topics such as: 1) System Systems Engineering 2) ECSS and CubeSat Mission Design and Engineering Implementation 3) Cube System Design and Verification 4) Structural Design and Analysis of Small Satellite 5) Small Satellite Technical Process 6) Small Satellite Test (Thermal Vacuum, Thermal Balance, Vibration, Magnetic, EMC) 7) Small Satellite AIT Technology 8) Small Satellite EPS System Design and Test 8) Attitude and Orbit Determination & Control Subsystem of Satellite 9) OBDH & On-board Software 10) Space Program and TT&C network 11)Chinese Launch Vehicle Technology 12) Electrical Power Subsystem Design and Implementation 13) Research & Development of S-band Segment.
The core of the APSCO SSS Summer Camp is about the education on space technology, especially satellite engineering. Therefore, it is very important that the participants receive hands-on training to learn knowledge, acquire experience, and develop skills on satellite engineering and the related areas. Beihang University, in its support for the SSS Summer Camp, generously provided its Sha He base and many laboratories with cutting-edge technologies for the participants to visit and receive trainings.
After three weeks of lectures and training, the students, lecturers, and volunteers received certificates of attendance and appreciation from APSCO and Beihang University. Excellent students and volunteers were appreciated with special certificates as well.
As an important part in the SSS project, the summer camp has a great significance in the further development of the project. This summer camp enables the participants to develop their basic knowledge of small satellite thus provides a platform to the Member States which imparts space technologies between them. On the other hand, the students and faculties trained would contribute to the development of space education systems in the Member States. Besides the academic and professional courses, the cultural visit, technical visit, participants’ forum and other activities provided an opportunity to the participants to know more about Chinese culture which contributes to the communication and friendship among the Member States. More importantly, this summer camp helps to build a solid foundation for the future cooperation among the Member States which promotes the development of the Member States.
Summer Camp courses in lecture room
One of the activities during Summer Camp
The Second Summer Camp of SSS Project is planned to be held in Turkey, under the co-organization by TUBITAK-UZAY. This activity would concentrate on development of detailed technologies in the micro/nano satellite platform/subsystems, which includes the EPS, OBDH, Telemetry, Tracking & Communications, ADCS, Structure & Mechanism, Thermal Control, etc. It would mainly focus on unit/subsystem manufacturing and testing, in interdisciplinary lectures module, practice module in laboratory or testing venue and assignments or team projects module.
The Third Summer Camp of SSS Project has also been discussed and planned by APSCO and SJTU on March 6, 2018. It would be held in Shanghai with co-organization by Shanghai Jiaotong University in summer time of 2019.
Two students from each Member States of APSCO joining the Master Degree Program on micro-satellite technology at Beihang University for the years 2017 and 2018.
Benefits of the Project for MS
The microsatellite will be the best platform for student training, scientific experiment, payload building and space engineering practice for all MSs, because of its physical flexibility and capability. While the CubeSat, with strong constraints in physical limitations but with lower cost, will be developed to meet the requirements of MSs who are not interested in building payload or subsystems but technical demonstrations.
The implementation of SSS constellation and summer camp activity paved the way of SSS project in technical and training aspects and impart the learning on student and faculties from Member States (MS) for space technology and satellite engineering.
Component testing for SSS-1 Microsatellite by university students from Member States
Mechanical testing for SSS-1 Microsatellite by university students
Design of SSS-2B Cube Satellite by university students