SNAP-1 Satellite

Satellite SNAP-1 (Surrey Nanosatellite Applications Platform)
Type Nanosatellite
Units or mass 6.5 kg
Status Was operational until ?
Launched 2000-06-28
NORAD ID 26386
Deployer Custom
Launcher Kosmos-3M
Organization Surrey Satellite Technology
Institution Company
Entity type Commercial
Country UK
Partners University of Surrey

SNAP-1 nanosatellite, weighing 6.3kg, had a number of firsts, including what we believe to be the first nanosat with propulsion.


SNAP-1 (Surrey Nanosatellite Applications Platform) was designed and built as a research mission by a joint academic-commercial team at the Surrey Space Centre and SSTL - funded entirely by SSTL.

The objective of SNAP-1 is to demonstrate in orbit the capabilities of advanced, highly integrated nanosatellites and their use as autonomous robots for observing orbiting space vehicles.

In addition to the machine vision payload, SNAP-1 carries a miniature propulsion system, the size of a pencil, using butane. This is currently being used to manoeuvre the nanosatellite to rendezvous with the Chinese Tsinghua 1 microsatellite.

Also on-board this tiny spacecraft are other miniature systems: a momentum wheel and magnetorquers for 3-axis attitude control; a GPS receiver for autonomous orbit determination; a 220 MHz 'StrongARM' 1100 on-board computer for housekeeping and high level vision functions; and an S-band communications system.

SNAP-1 imaging capabilities:

  • Three wide-angle CMOS cameras, each with a 350 x 288 pixel detector, and each with a 90 degree field of view to cover an arc of 270 degrees.
  • A single narrow-angle camera (350 x 288 pixels) co-aligned with the centre wide-angle camera providing the capability of finer feature inspection.  

SNAP-1 mission achievements:

  • The first fully 3-axis attitude stablised nanosatellite.
  • The first nanosatellite with on-board propulsion demonstrating orbit control.
  • The first in-orbit images of another spacecraft from a nanosatellite.
  • The first successful use of GPS on-board a nanosatellite - used for orbit manoeuvring.
  • First use of propulsion on a nanosatellite and first use of butane as a space propellant.
Sources [1] [2] [3] [4]
Photo sources [1]
Keywords Propulsion

Last modified: 2024-05-29

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