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Question re unpacking a CubeSat Kit

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Question re unpacking a CubeSat Kit

Postby Unregistered User » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:04 am

To Whom it May Concern,

[Snip] We are currently nearing that important part of the developmental stage which will require us to purchase equipment for testing and also for final construction, and would like to purchase the CubeSat kit from your company.
Since the satellite is to be tested and constructed in clean rooms we would like to know exactly how it is packaged to ensure that there is no contamination. From previous experience we assume the kit will arrive in a cardboard box containing a clean package which houses the kit itself but before we can purchase a CubeSat kit we would like to know exactly how it is packaged when shipped, if possible the dimensions, materials, weight and how yo9u open the packaging.

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Re: Question re unpacking a CubeSat Kit

Postby aek » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:06 am

As part of our business model -- which enables us to provide the CubeSat Kit (CSK) at low cost -- we do not maintain any explicit clean room environments in the manufacturing, assembly, testing, etc. of the CSK components. In fact, our unofficial mantra is "it had better be able to survive this handling and abuse, or else what chance does it have in space?"

That said, the flight components of the CSK (e.g. the structure and the FM430 module) are built in typical manufacturing environments, e.g. sheet-metal shops and plating shops, and electronics assembly houses, respectively. These are generally clean (quite clean in the case of electronics assembly), but generally not clean-room clean.

Our packing and packaging use simple, usually recyclable materials like cardboard, anti-static bags, paper and "peanuts" made from styrofoam or recyclable materials, and packing tape.

Also keep in mind that the CSK Development Board and its various accessories (like the external power supplies, the USB JTAG FET, USB cables, etc.) are not intended for a clean room to begin with -- they're intended to be used in a simple desktop lab environment, since a (traditional) clean room is unnecessary for software development, with which you will be busy. Of course you could use them in a clean room if you like, but that seems like an unnecessary expense / hassle to me. Additionally, simple items like fasteners and spacers and tools are commercially acquired and are most definitely not made in cleanroom environments.

1U CubeSat Kits ship in a 12"x12"x12" cardboard box. The Dev Board and 1U structure + FM430 are normally packaged in separate boxes inside. Various other CSK components are also inside in various boxes and bags.

For your situation, there is no downside to unpacking the box outside your cleanroom environment, as nothing inside the box is cleanroom-clean to begin with. I would suggest that you unpack outside, then clean (with compressed air or whatever) the structure + FM430 and move that into your cleanroom. The structure + FM430 are flight units and should be treated as such, and should probably live their lives in your cleanroom until launch.

Any modules ("internal payloads") you develop or buy will have to be tested / integrated on your Dev Board first, and then moved over to the clean room as well, for final integration into your actual CubeSat Kit.


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