What is SUNSAT?
SUNSAT is a microsatellite being developed at the University of Stellenbosch by postgraduate engineering students.
When did it all start?
In 1989, lecturers of the Engineering Faculty started planning. The SUNSAT programme commenced in 1992 with 12 graduate Engineering students starting development work in the SUNSAT laboratory. At present we have a team of 28 students each responsible for some component of the satellite.
What contribution is made by the students ?
What is the purpose of SUNSAT?
How big is SUNSAT?
SUNSAT's dimensions are 450mm x 450mm x 600mm.
SUNSAT was designed to weigh only 50kg. Since the addition of the GPS receiver , the mass increased to 60kg.
Major components of SUNSAT:
When will SUNSAT be launched?
SUNSAT is scheduled for launch in early March or May 1998 by NASA from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, USA. The launch vehicle will be a DELTA II rocket (shown at right) during mission P-91. Along with SUNSAT there will be a satellite from the USAF and a Danish micro satellite, ØRSTED.
What is SUNSAT's orbit?
The orbit is elliptic with a perigee of 400km and an apogee of 830km. The earth-centered, true-of-date orbit elements at the 1 September 1995 epoch are as follows:
SMA = 6997.2445 km RAN = 339.694069 deg ECC = 0.03131297 AP = 0 deg INCL = 93 deg TA = 0 deg
The predicted orbit lifetimes, in days are as follows:
Solar Flux 400km x 830km -2 sigma >4098 mean 2207 +2 sigma 1812
For a general overview of the SUNSAT onboard systems you can have a look at this block diagram