ARKSat-1 Satellite

Satellite name ARKSAT-1 (ARKSAT 1)
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 1U
Status Reentry 2023-10-30. Was semi-operational until 2023-04-24, 1 day? (Some SatNOGS packets during the first day as per SmallSat 2023 presentation)
Launched 2023-03-14
NORAD ID 56311
Deployer NRCSD (NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer) [Quad-M]
Launcher Falcon 9 (CRS-27) (ELaNa 50)
Deployment Deployed from ISS on 2023-04-23
Organisation University of Arkansas
Institution University
Entity type Academic / Education
Nation US

Xenon flash bulb as the calibrated source for ground tracking and demonstrate deorbiting.


Take LEO-to-Earth atmospheric composition measurements using an on-board xenon flash bulb as the calibrated source for ground tracking and demonstrate CubeSat deorbiting using a solid-state inflation balloon (SSIB).

The SSIB is comprised of a solid state gas generator (SSGG), space compatible balloon film structure, and spacecraft integration subsystem. The SSGG is a 2D array of sodium azide crystals, which, when heated, produce N2 gas which will inflate the balloon. The heater system uses about 1W of power for less than 10 seconds, and the gas is generated within milliseconds. The inflated balloon will then greatly increase the aerodynamic drag on the satellite, reducing the amount of time a given satellite will be orbital debris after its mission has ended. 

Mission phases:

  1. Initial flight demonstration and ground station communications operations for UA.
  2. Demonstrate operation of high-power LED for ground tracking purposes and test use of LORA receiver.
  3. Test small satellite deorbiting system in LEO space environment.

It will illuminate an LED from orbit and use a ground spectrometer to track and perform atmospheric measurements. “It might be the first time this instrument technology is purposefully designed to be done with a CubeSat,” said Adam Huang, principal investigator. “It could be developed into future satellite-based systems using cooperative formations of CubeSats.”

ARKSAT-1’s secondary objective sets out to demonstrate a way to help alleviate the problem of space debris with a lightweight Solid State Inflatable Balloon (SSIB) that can be used to deorbit small satellites after a mission ends. When the balloon on ARKSAT-1 inflates, it will greatly increase the ARKSAT-1’s aerodynamic drag, thereby helping the satellite re-enter and disintegrate safely in Earth’s atmosphere. If successful, the SSIB technology could help reduce the amount of time a small satellite remains “space junk” in low-Earth orbit after its mission has ended.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3] [4]
COTS subsystems
  • EPS - Clyde Space
  • TRANSCEIVER - Astrodev Lithium-1
Subsystems sources [1]
Keywords De-orbit device
On the same launch

Last modified: 2024-05-29

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