Pleiades Yearling

Pleiades Yearling
Name Pleiades Yearling
Type CubeSat
Units or mass 1U
Status not launched, expected in 2023
Organisation Stanford University
Institution University
Entity Academic / Education
Nation US
Partners Stanford Student Space Initiative (SSI), Bronco Space

Demonstrate CubeSat bus, intersatellite links and perform radio amateur mission.


The first is to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of the PROVES (Pleiades Rapid Orbital Verification Experimental System) 1U PyCubed based CubeSat Bus. The PROVES bus is being developed with the intention of providing an open source and readily available 1U platform to student payloads to conduct experiments on orbit. This PROVES demonstration will fly multiple scientific and engineering experiments to characterize the space environment. These experiments are developed by Cal Poly Pomona undergraduate students in parallel with their standard coursework. Data collected and transmitted by the satellite will be directly fed back into the classroom and used to better the CubeSat developer’s understanding of the space environment.

The second objective is a demonstration of the broader Pleiades Swarm Initiative, which exists to develop and demonstrate distributed spacecraft technology. This initial demonstration will demonstrate satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-satellite-to-ground relays. Depending on final orbital parameters, the ultimate goal will be a ground-to-satellite-to-satellite-to-ground link between a station operated by students at Bronco Space at Cal Poly Pomona, and a station operated by students at Student Space Initiative at Stanford.

The radio-networking demonstration of this mission is a collaboration between student groups who wish to use a network of satellites to send simple messages between two universities, and then build upon this experience to build a more complex radio networking swarm of satellites.

The hardware tested and software developed by this networking demonstration may enable amateur satellites to achieve over the horizon radio relays without requiring a medium or high Earth orbit relay node. The mission will continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of LoRa for spacecraft telemetry and command.

Amateur operators and satellite hobbyists may use this information to build their own CubeSats, or because all spacecraft built for this project are open source, they may directly replicate the Sapling spacecraft to act as a known foundation for their own missions. If the radio networking demonstration is successful, amateurs using the correct LoRa modulation and packet structures could conceivably relay their own packets through the network when it is not actively in use by Cal Poly or Stanford operators. As with all amateur satellite missions, the prospect of catching a telemetry packet will inspire other students around the world to pursue radio communications and other satellite possibilities of their own imagination.

Sources [1] [2] [3]
Photo sources [1]
Keywords Open-source

Last modified: 2023-06-09
Detailed Pleiades Yearling entry in the Database
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Created by Erik Kulu


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