Arizona State University Satellite 1 (ASUSat1): Low-Cost, Student-Designed Nanosatellite Academic Article uri icon


  • On 27 January 2000 at 03:03:06 (coordinated Universal time) Arizona State University Satellite 1 (ASUSat1) was launched into space. The launch was the culmination of six years of effort by over 400 students. ASUSat1 is an innovative nanosatellite bringing new concepts for low-power, low-mass, highly constrained designs. Its primary mission was Earth imaging, with several secondary missions including attitude and orbit determination, amateur-radio communications, passive stabilization techniques, and composite-material research. After the successful launch and deployment of ASUSat1, the satellite operated for 14 h. In spite of this, the team collected telemetry from and commanded the satellite and verified many of the design concepts incorporated into the satellite. A majority of components and subsystems performed as designed and built by the students, including the Marmon clamp deployment mechanism, boom deployer, microswitches, tape antennas, gravity-gradient stabilization system, carbon-composite structure, boot-loader software, computer, modem, receivers, transmitter, passive thermal control, thermal sensors, power storage and regulation system, dynamics board, sun/Earth sensors, and ground station. Following the on-orbit failure of ASUSat1, the team conducted an investigation to single out the problem. Even though no specific problem was identified, the team has noted several design and system-level issues to be taken as lessons learned from this project to future student satellite projects.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets

author list (cited authors)

  • Friedman, A., Underhill, B., Ferring, S., Lenz, C., Rademacher, J., & Reed, H.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Friedman, Assi||Underhill, Brian||Ferring, Shea||Lenz, Christian||Rademacher, Joel||Reed, Helen

publication date

  • September 2002