APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

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APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby APOD Robot » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:06 am

Image Three CubeSats Released

Explanation: Cubes are orbiting the Earth. Measuring ten-centimeters on a side, CubeSats -- each roughly the size of a large coffee mug -- are designed to be inexpensive both to build and to launch. Pictured above, three CubeSats were released from the International Space Station (ISS) last November by the arm of the Japanese Kibo Laboratory module. CubeSats are frequently created by students as part of university science or engineering projects and include missions such as collecting wide angle imagery of the Earth, testing orbital radio communications, monitoring the Earth's magnetic field, and exploring the Earth's surrounding radiations. Depending on the exact height of their release, CubeSats will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere on the time scale of months to years.

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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Nitpicker » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:29 am

Cool. And yet another excuse for a university student to not submit a thesis on time: "the atmosphere ate my CubeSat".

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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby owlice » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:49 am

This is a stunning picture! Looks almost like three dice being thrown into orbit around our fair planet; though hardware only, it is so easy to feel the humanity behind it, as if our collective hands held these small cubes and gently rolled them into space to tell us more about our small shared orb.
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby geckzilla » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:55 am

They make me think of belated little Christmas gifts.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby neufer » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:03 am

Click to play embedded YouTube video.

Nitpicker wrote:
Cool.

And yet another excuse for a university student to not submit a thesis on time: "the atmosphere ate my CubeSat".
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Beyond » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:31 am

Arf :?:
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby orin stepanek » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:11 pm

Three little cubes; floating in space! One took the lead; the others kept pace! :lol2:
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Beyond » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:30 pm

Nice little cute cube rhyme, Orin. :yes:
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:25 pm

That calls for some more satel’lite humor…

Three Blind ‘lites. Three Blind ‘lites.
Set them adrift. Set them adrift.
They fall according to gravity laws
At a rate we adjust for relative flaws
You ever foresee such a flight in you life?
As Three Blind ‘lites .

Well, maybe no one called for it – Too late now :)
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Beyond » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:50 pm

Ron, you've been hangin around here tooo long :!: You're gettin really good at this. :yes: :lol2:
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Three maligned ‘lites.

Postby neufer » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:22 pm

Ron-Astro Pharmacist wrote:That calls for some more satel’lite humor…

Three Blind ‘lites. Three Blind ‘lites.
Set them adrift. Set them adrift.
They fall according to gravity laws
At a rate we adjust for relative flaws
You ever foresee such a flight in you life?
As Three Blind ‘lites .


Well, maybe no one called for it – Too late now :)

Shouldn't the 5th line be something like:

Did you ever see such a flight of NASA's?
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby biddie67 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:13 am

Despite the fascinating visual effect of the little cubes being set aflight, the involvement of students and the great poetry above, my first thoughts go to the problems of tracking them as they possibly become "space trash" that could collide with satellites and maybe even interfere somehow with the ISS itself ?????

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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby geckzilla » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:17 am

biddie67 wrote:Despite the fascinating visual effect of the little cubes being set aflight, the involvement of students and the great poetry above, my first thoughts go to the problems of tracking them as they possibly become "space trash" that could collide with satellites and maybe even interfere somehow with the ISS itself ?????


Their orbits naturally decay quickly enough for that to not be an issue. You could think of them like a really slow mo fall of something dropped out of a helicopter. The ISS has thrusters to maintain its position and these little cubes just fall on their own.
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby biddie67 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:36 am

How is data collected by these cubes relayed back to the students that put them together?
Has this kind of release been done more than once? Are these cubes made by students from various universities?

There must be some kind of application process to the ISS officials to be allowed to participate in this ....



Sorry ~ I wrote this before reading the links in the APOD description ~~ they answered my questions

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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:44 pm

geckzilla wrote:Their orbits naturally decay quickly enough for that to not be an issue. You could think of them like a really slow mo fall of something dropped out of a helicopter. The ISS has thrusters to maintain its position and these little cubes just fall on their own.

I'm not sure that's the best way to view it. Everything that is in orbit is falling freely. Things in sufficiently low orbits experience drag from the thin upper atmosphere, which robs them of energy and results in orbital decay.
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby geckzilla » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:53 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Their orbits naturally decay quickly enough for that to not be an issue. You could think of them like a really slow mo fall of something dropped out of a helicopter. The ISS has thrusters to maintain its position and these little cubes just fall on their own.

I'm not sure that's the best way to view it. Everything that is in orbit is falling freely. Things in sufficiently low orbits experience drag from the thin upper atmosphere, which robs them of energy and results in orbital decay.

Yes, it's not gravity pulling them down but the atmospheric drag of a few atoms of hydrogen, helium, or whatever is light enough to still be up there. I couldn't think of a way to explain why the cubes won't come around and smack into the ISS besides just saying that scientists are smart enough not to pee into the wind.
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:06 pm

geckzilla wrote:I couldn't think of a way to explain why the cubes won't come around and smack into the ISS besides just saying that scientists are smart enough not to pee into the wind.

I don't know. That works for me.
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby geckzilla » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:00 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
geckzilla wrote:I couldn't think of a way to explain why the cubes won't come around and smack into the ISS besides just saying that scientists are smart enough not to pee into the wind.

I don't know. That works for me.

Oi, I thought I'd get dinged on that one for saying there's wind. :lol:
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:08 pm

geckzilla wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
geckzilla wrote:I couldn't think of a way to explain why the cubes won't come around and smack into the ISS besides just saying that scientists are smart enough not to pee into the wind.

I don't know. That works for me.

Oi, I thought I'd get dinged on that one for saying there's wind. :lol:

Well, there's atmosphere up there, so there's wind. Very fast wind. And that's not even considering the solar wind, which is even faster yet.
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby neufer » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:20 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
geckzilla wrote:
Oi, I thought I'd get dinged on that one for saying there's wind. :lol:

Well, there's atmosphere up there, so there's wind. Very fast wind. And that's not even considering the solar wind, which is even faster yet.

Well...

1) The first wind is basically an artifact of the orbital motion &
2) the second wind is blocked by the Earth's magnetosphere.
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby geckzilla » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:22 pm

If you were to squirt a stream of water out, would it be blown back by that wind? Is it even possible to "pee" into the wind at the level of the ISS and have it come back to hit, say, the cupola? Which astronaut wants to volunteer?
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:26 pm

neufer wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:Well, there's atmosphere up there, so there's wind. Very fast wind. And that's not even considering the solar wind, which is even faster yet.

Well...

1) The first wind is basically an artifact of the orbital motion

The very high atmosphere is not stationary with respect to the ground.

2) the second wind is blocked by the Earth's magnetosphere.

Most of it is. But by no means all. Satellites in low Earth orbit certainly encounter particles of the solar wind.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:33 pm

geckzilla wrote:If you were to squirt a stream of water out, would it be blown back by that wind? Is it even possible to "pee" into the wind at the level of the ISS and have it come back to hit, say, the cupola? Which astronaut wants to volunteer?

I've never seen a spacesuit with a fly... but spacecraft do, in fact, jettison urine all the time. In the absence of other forces, that pee would be in an orbit with a slightly different eccentricity than the spacecraft, but which would intersect the spacecraft's orbit once each cycle. But the "wind" of the upper atmosphere prevents that. Eventually, the urine either reenters the Earth's atmosphere or sublimates away.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby geckzilla » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:56 pm

Must be some concentrated pee getting jettisoned if they recycle it into drinking water first. Let's not get peed on by the ISS. If it were a sci fi movie it would first freeze into some icicles which would then break apart into sharp pieces and then poke through some vital part of the station.
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Re: APOD: Three CubeSats Released (2014 Jan 06)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:14 pm

geckzilla wrote:Must be some concentrated pee getting jettisoned if they recycle it into drinking water first. Let's not get peed on by the ISS. If it were a sci fi movie it would first freeze into some icicles which would then break apart into sharp pieces and then poke through some vital part of the station.

I don't think the ISS normally jettisons pee. But the ISS isn't the only manned spacecraft.
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