ArduSat: Open Source In Orbit

Jonathan Oxer (Freetronics)
Open Hardware
Location: D135 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.62, 8 ratings)

The ArduSat project will launch two cubesats into orbit in 2013, carrying a payload combining an extensive sensor suite and cameras with a multi-node processor platform based on Arduino. Once in orbit the satellites will be accessible to students, space enthusiasts, and others who will be able to upload their own data collection and processing experiments to the platform, or control the cameras to take pictures from space. The project has received significant funding via Kickstarter and support from corporate sponsors.

The payload operational software and the hardware design is all Open Source, with collaborators around the world working together on the design.

The design of the payload is an interesting exercise in low-level system architecture, with multiple microcontroller nodes requiring pseudo-independent access to the shared sensor suite. An objective of the design is to allow experiments to be prototyped quickly and cheaply on the ground using standard Arduino-based hardware, so maintaining software compatibility with regular Arduino boards and sensors while still meeting spaceflight requirements is a high priority.

This talk will provide an overview of the ArduSat project and what it hopes to achieve, the system architecture of the payload, demonstration of actual space-ready hardware, and (depending on the launch schedule for ArduSat-1 not slipping from its current July 15 schedule) perhaps even live data access to the satellite while in orbit.

Photo of Jonathan Oxer

Jonathan Oxer


Jon has been hacking on both hardware and software since he was a little tacker. Most recently he’s been focusing more on the Open Hardware side as co-founder of Freetronics and designer of the payload electronics for ArduSat. His books include “Ubuntu Hacks” and “Practical Arduino”.


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