Flying The First Open Source Satellite

The Libre Space Foundation is an organization dedicated to the development of libre space hardware. It was born from the SatNOGS project — the winners of the first Hackaday Prize — and now this foundation is in space. The Libre Space Foundation hitched a ride on the Orbital ATK launch yesterday, and right now their completely Open Source cube sat is on its way to the International Space Station.

The cube sat in question is UPSat, a 2U cubesat that is completely Open Source. Everything from the chassis to the firmware is completely Open, with all the source files hosted on GitHub.

UPSat is currently on its way to the International Space Station stowed in an Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft. From here, the UPSat will be unloaded by members of the current ISS expedition and deployed with help from NanoRacks. Basically, the first Open Source satellite will be tossed overboard from the International Space Station. If you want to listen in on the data UPSat is beaming down, build a SatNOGS ground station and tune into 435.765 MHz. With a good antenna, you should be able to hear it when the ISS is in the sky, or a few times a week.

You can check out the launch of the Cygnus the UPSat is flying on in the video below. NASA also recorded a 360° video from the launch pad that unfortunately cuts out in the first few seconds after launch.

19 thoughts on “Flying The First Open Source Satellite

      1. Not the best name they could choose if you ask me. I live in Patras too.

        The city which is mostly known for the biggest Christian church in Greece (st. Andrew’s church), and the third in size in all Balkans. The university does its best, but there are better universities in Greece that do better with less.

        Also, the satellite doesn’t belong to the University of Patras, and the construction was a collaborative effort of LibreSpaceFoundation with that university. It’s pretty rude for the university doing it’s best to take all the credit, but unlike in what the academics from Banania (Μπανανία) think, people outside Greece know who’s really responsible for it and who has long term plans already put in motion for the same reason (hint: not the U.o.P.).


    1. It’s a good question. Go to their site. If they have a purpose for this, or even a functional description, it’s not obvious. The only thing they aggressively push on their site is OPEN SOURCE!!!!!!! IT’S OPEN SOURCE!! LOOK AT US! DID WE MENTION OPEN SOURCE????
      Soooo glad you gave them 250K….

      1. Actually they gave YOU and everyone the knowledge to make your own cubesat but OK, you don’t need to thank them for that. You could do it yourself anytime and with no budget…

    1. Aren’t most cubesats in super low orbit, and therefore have orbital decay of less than 5 years? Actually it looks like at the​ ISS altitude it would be one year or less since it seems like they reboots very often.

      I think the big companies planning to launch hundreds or thousands at highres altitudes are going to cause most of the issues.

  1. That launch also includes Aalto-2, the first Finnish satellite to reach space.
    Now it’s a race to see if Aalto-2 will get launched from ISS before Aalto-1 goes up next month on a PSLV launch.

  2. UPSat was built by the University of Patras in Greece, which also initiated the project, along with Libre space foundation, which among others played a key role in the project completion. I was happy to be part of the project in one way or the other. Congratulations to all parties that made the project alive!

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