Libelium Sensors Enable Open Source Satellite

August 8, 2013

Upon its successful launch, the crowd-funded ArduSat satellite allows private citizens to design and run their own applications in space, including experiments using Libelium sensors to detect high-energy radiation in space.

ZARAGOZA, Spain & SAN FRANCISCO /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- With the successful space launch of ArduSat aboard a H-IIB rocket, the first open satellite platform that allows private citizens to design and run their own applications in space is now on its way to the International Space Station.

Included in the standard payload of the two 10 cm by 10 cm orbiters launched this week are radiation sensor boards designed by Libelium that will monitor radiation levels generated by space phenomena such as sun storms and background activity. This sensing technology acts as a Geiger counter measuring gamma particles produced anywhere in space.

Once the ArduSat is released into orbit at an altitude of more than 300 km, students from a dozen schools across the U.S. and select schools in Brazil, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, and Israel will access and control the satellites for their science experiments, beginning this fall. One of six prebuilt experiments uses the Libelium Geiger counter to detect high-energy radiation levels from space.

"Our radiation sensors were developed originally to measure radioactivity levels on Earth. We adapted them to meet the satellite's restrictions in terms of weight, size, and power control, in a nice collaboration between Libelium and ArduSat engineering teams," said David Gascon, co-founder and CTO of Libelium.

"We're making space exploration affordable and accessible to everyone, with a space platform that lets the users innovate. The spirit of discovery and sharing that inspires open source development fits perfectly with this aim and makes it come to life," said Peter Platzer, CEO of NanoSatisfi, ArduSat's parent company.

ArduSat prebuilt experiments include:

  • Test for orbital mechanics and dynamics using the accelerometer + gyroscope
  • Build a 3D model of Earth's magnetic field using the magnetometer
  • Measure temperature changes in space (i.e., a cold snap) using the IR temperature sensor
  • Detect high-energy radiation levels using the Geiger counter
  • Build a spectrograph of Earth's Albedo (reflection coefficient) using the spectrometer
  • Take a picture from space

For more information on the capabilities of Libelium's open source sensor platform click here.

About Libelium
Libelium designs and manufactures open source hardware for wireless sensor networks so that system integrators and engineering and consultancy companies can deliver reliable smart cities solutions with minimum time to market. All Libelium's products are modular, easy to deploy, and include extensive documentation and support through a global community of developers. Libelium's customers range from startups to large international corporations in North America, Asia, and Europe.

Libelium's open source DIY hardware division, Cooking Hacks, is dedicated to making electronics affordable, easy to learn, and fun. Cooking Hacks serves a worldwide community of developers, designers, engineers, hobbyists, inventors, and makers who love to create electronics with sensors, robotics, actuators, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi. Established in 2006, Libelium is privately held and has headquarters in Zaragoza, Spain.

About NanoSatisfi
NanoSatisfi democratizes access to space exploration, images, and data by providing individuals access to a user-programmable in-orbit satellite for $250/week. With the ArduSat, the company is providing unique educational opportunities using cutting-edge space technologies, to drive economic competitiveness and inspire a brand new generation of science, technology, engineering, and math professionals.

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