Spacecraft name AlbaSat
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 2U
Status not launched, expected in 2025
Launcher not launched
Entity name University of Padova
Institution University
Entity type Academic / Education
Nation Italy
Operator In-house?
Partners Alba CubeSat UniPD

A small-scale space debris impact sensor is under development at the University of Padova in the frame of a student CubeSat project.


The design and development of a resistive impact sensor for sub-mm space debris, which will be integrated in the AlbaSat 2U CubeSat of the University of Padova. 

A small-scale impact sensor is currently under development at the University of Padova in the frame of a student CubeSat project. The sensor consists of a multitude of thin, conductive stripes arranged on a thin film of non-conductive material. When a debris hits the sensor, one or more stripes are severed, and the impact is detected. 

The team is developing AlbaSat, a 2U CubeSat with four distinct mission objectives: (1) study the micro-debris environment in orbit around the Earth, (2) measure the microvibrations on board the satellite, (3) do precise orbit determination through laser ranging and (4) to investigate alternative systems for possible Satellite Quantum Communication applications on nanosatellites. The data collected by these technical experiments will enrich the current knowledge of the space environment and will support the research activities currently carried out within the University of Padova.

To reach the mission objectives, AlbaSat features four payloads: (1) an impact sensor, (2) a micro-vibration sensor, (3) a number of Corner Cube Retroreflector and (4) a Modulating Retro Reflector. In addition, several subsystems are used to guarantee the success of the mission: Telemetry, Tracking and Control System (TT&C), Electric Power System (EPS), Attitude Determination Control System (ADCS), On-Board Computer (OBC).

The team collaborates with QuantumFuture, a team from the department of information engineering (DEI) specialized in Satellite Quantum Communication. In addition, the radioamateurs section of Padova (ARI Padova) provides technical support in the development of a Ground Station for communication with the satellite.

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Photo sources [1]

Last modified: 2023-12-30

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