TRACE Satellite

Satellite name TRACE (TU Darmstadt ReseArch Cubesat for Education)
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 3U
Status not launched, expected in 2025
Launcher not launched
Organization TU Darmstadt Space Technology (TUDSat)
Institution Non-profit
Entity type Academic / Education
Nation Germany

Demonstrate corner reflectors and a gamma sensor and an experiment to measure free charges within the high atmosphere.


The CubeSat project TRACE (TU Darmstadt ReseArch Cubesat for Education) is scheduled to launch in mid 2025 and currently consists of a team of students from different fields of study and universities in the vicinity of Darmstadt.

The CubeSat Mission addresses the increasing problem of space debris regarding small satellites and non-cooperative targets.

Nominal operations of satellites depend on the clear identification of the individual satellites. This identification is conventionally achieved by a combination of NORAD-published TLE data and received datasets from the satellite. Because of their simple design, mostly built by amateurs or educational institutes, small satellites suffer from an increased risk of not being fully operational after launch.

Thereby and by difficulties regarding identification through TLE data, caused by many satellites in similar orbits after mass launches, many of these satellites cannot be identified properly. Historical data show that this can take up to 200 days (or never get found).

Consequently, we as a student group have made it our mission to demonstrate and test independent identification technologies during our CubeSat mission, which are supposed to enable the early localization and identification after deployment and the collection of data about its movement and orbit.

When planning a space mission, one must always take into account the radiation dose to which the subsystems are exposed. For this reason, the scientific secondary payload is composed of two components: A gamma sensor and an experiment to measure free charges within the high atmosphere.

The objective of this experiment is first to test the concept and, if successful, to learn conclusions about the state of the high atmosphere.

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Last modified: 2024-05-29

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