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Author Topic:   Cost to Complete a CubeSat?
posted April 09, 2008 16:43     Click Here to See the Profile for aek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One doesn't usually purchase the pod ... the "use" of the pod is included in the launch service contract.

Cal Poly charge around $40k per 1U CubeSat Kit. They also sell P-PODs for reference and testing, but it's not required of you as a CubeSat Kit developer to purchase one.

Contact Cal Poly (P-Pod) or SFL/UTIA (XPOD) for more information.


[This message has been edited by aek (edited April 09, 2008).]


Junior Member
posted April 09, 2008 06:11     Click Here to See the Profile for cpbridges     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Andrew,

Could you elaborate a little on the costs of the P-POD (or X-POD)? I've found very little cost/ordering information on these items, and thought someone here might know

Thanks! Chris


posted October 08, 2007 09:40     Click Here to See the Profile for aek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Pge. 4 of your Price List - where "a complete IMI-100 ADACS Kit is priced at $55,000.00". If this is not so, can you give me a general idea of a cost factor here .. I'm floating somewhat blind - not being an expert in this field. I will simply purchase - others will assemble.

Just give me what you would expect it should cost to completion .. I would greatly appreciate your doing that for me.

In anticipation - I thank you

OK, the CubeSat Kit prices (i.e. prices for a complete starter kit) are on page 2 of http://www.pumpkininc.com/content/doc/forms/pricelist.pdf. A simple 1U (10x10x10cm) CubeSat Kit is $6,000, and to that one must add a power system, solar panels, radio, antennas, and the payload / experiment. You'll also need an MSP430 IDE + compiler. We have all our customers using Rowley's CrossWorks for MSP430 (http://www.rowley.co.uk), which is under $2k, and much less for educational institutions.

Most customer do their own solar panels and antennas. They can buy a space-rated power system ($3-$5k) from Clyde Space in the UK (http://www.clyde-space.com/) that is drop-in compatible with the CubeSat Kit. We also sell radios (see the MHX entries on page 4) and some people have used them. The MHX-2400 has successfully flown on two missions already -- GeneSat and MAST.

The ADACS on page 4 is used on missions that require the CubeSat Kit be able to point / align itself accurately in a particular direction while on orbit, e.g. to always point at the sun. Generally speaking, those who use the ADACS are building what amounts to a 3U (10x10x30cm) CubeSat, where the "first" U is a 1U CubeSat Kit with power, radio, etc., the 2nd U is the ADACS, and the 3rd U is dedicated to a payload.

There are some pics here: http://www.pumpkininc.com/content/doc/press/Pumpkin_CSWSSS2007.pdf that may make this clearer. For example, on page 9 you see a 3U CubeSat built from a 1U CubeSat Kit + a 2U customer payload. This satellite would use only passive stabilization, i.e. it cannot point itself accurately in any particular direction. Cost to launch is whatever the cost to launch 3kg is at the time (ca. $120,000, if goig through Cal Poly). On page 11 you can see a 2U w/ADACS, i.e. a CubeSat Kit that will cost roughly $80,000 to launch and roughly $80,000-$100,000 (parts cost) to build, with room for a small payload (at top) and with pointing accuracies of 1 degree or so.

Most organizations begin with a 1U to get a flavor for all of this, and to build a track record of success in space. Our first customer to launch a CubeSat Kit into space is the University Sergio Arboledo in Bogota, COlombia, with their Libertad-1 spacecraft. I'm happy to report that the mission was a success, and I believe that their total outlay in terms of parts and launch costs was under $100,000. Libertad-1 was Colombia's first spacecraft.

In general, launch costs are around $40,000-$50,000 per U (i.e. per kg). So a 1U CubeSat Kit launched into space will have real material + launch costs of around $100,000. This of course does not count labor costs. A 2U (w/ADACS) is ca. $200,000 and a 3U (w/ADACS) is around $250,000-$300,000.



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