SBUDNIC Satellite

Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 3U
Status Reentry 2023-08-10. No signal (Press release about autonomous drag sail deployment on 2023-03-17 but no signal and no reports on Twitter, SATNOGS or TinyGS as of 2022-04-15)
Launched 2022-05-25
NORAD ID 52774
Deployer DPOD / DCUBE [D-Orbit]
Launcher Falcon 9 (Transporter-5) (D-Orbit ION)
Deployment Deployed from D-Orbit ION on 2022-06-09
Organisation Brown University
Institution University
Entity type Academic / Education
Country US
Partners La Sapienza, D-Orbit

Testing the limits of how quickly and efficiently a 3U CubeSat can be developed using parts that have never been to space before.


SBUDNIC is a group of Brown University students developing a cube satellite for launch using only terrestrial parts like Arduino Uno. We plan to make all of our designs open-source. SBUDNIC emerged from Professor Rick Fleeter’s “Design of Space Systems” class, ENGN1760.

We aspire to be one of the fastest sketch-to-launch developments of a 3U cubesat. Period. SBUDNIC’s total budget is approximately $10,000 USD; we are working to meet our aggressive timeline by utilizing as many terrestrial components as possible.

Our mission is to construct and launch a small satellite for amateur radio experimentation in satellite communications and control. Using low cost and widely available parts and very simple low bandwidth communications architecture, the spacecraft telemetry and downlinked photos can be easily received by any amateur or short wave listener with a minimum of cost and technical expertise. Hams can experiment with uplinking commands to the satellite to take a picture with one of the on-board cameras, immediately or with some time delay, and then to specify when (and thus where) that image will be downlinked.

The spacecraft itself is built using all commercially available amateur equipment at a cost and complexity compatible with club activities at a community level. The satellite can be built by a team with very limited prior experience in the satellite design or construction. The satellite will have an on-board camera and be able to receive a picture request from any capable ground station. This request can be to immediately take a picture and downlink it or to take a picture and transmit it at regular intervals or after a certain delay. The frequency of telemetry and image transmissions will be dependent on the power considerations of the satellite. This project is being used as an opportunity to teach ourselves and others about satellite design and construction with the aim of bringing the ability to build and operate a satellite within reach of individual community level amateur radio club organizations.

Our design and construction process will be public information, so as to serve as a model for future low budget amateur satellite projects. We are using an Arduino processor and Arduino shield for communication, which will help to improve accessibility of the project to amateur ground stations, if they want to participate in the project.


Analysis of orbital tracking data shows that the drag device, and by extension almost all major subsystems, successfully self-initialized, deployed, and functioned once SBUDNIC was placed into its selected 550km polar orbit by a D-Orbit ION orbital tug. Deployment was then verified from the ground by comparing SBUDNIC’s observed orbital decay with predicted orbital decay of the satellite over time, comparing SBUDNIC’s altitude to that of the other 3U cubesats deployed at comparable altitudes and orbits as part of SpaceX’s Transporter 5 mission, and by radar measurement of the cross-sectional area of the satellite.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3]
On the same launch

Last modified: 2024-05-29

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Created by Erik Kulu


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