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Passat: A Cubesat Student Design Project For Active Control System Development And Verification

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Space Systems Design

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.944.1 - 14.944.12



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Paper Authors

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Daniel Rooney Saint Louis University

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Mathew Roseman Saint Louis University

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Charles Shotridge Saint Louis University

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Jeffrey Aschenbrenner Saint Louis University

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Sanjay Jayaram Saint Louis University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



The CubeSat program at Saint Louis University’s Parks College is a highly educational and valuable program for engineering students. Students gain a large spectrum of knowledge; both theory and real world based, and obtain valuable hands-on design experience. PASSat is a 10 x 10 x 10 cm picosatellite weighing approximately one kilogram and is completely designed and built by multi-disciplinary undergraduate students. PASSat (Parks Actively Stabilized Satellite) has provided the students with knowledge and experience in the fields of spacecraft structures, attitude control and determination, project management, teamwork, communication, and design process. This paper will describe the current pico satellite design PASSat; describing the satellite, its mission, systems engineering, vehicle design and overall organization and management. The paper will also discuss the student educational benefits.


Saint Louis University’s Aerospace Engineering department initiated the pico and nano satellite program in 2005. The purpose of the program is two is to provide highly skilled, hands-on experienced student workforce for the aerospace industry and to offer a low-cost, quick-to-launch satellite platform and subsystems to execute scientific and technology demonstration missions. As the “Apollo Generation” reaches retirement, these workforce problems will increase significantly. While the need for trained workforce is growing, there has been a steady decline in students’ opportunity to obtain meaningful hands-on experience with spaceflight hardware [1 - 3]. Industry, by large and most experienced space systems engineering faculty will attest to the following observations:

1. At present, there are insufficient methods for students to acquire hands-on experience in the scientific and technical disciplines necessary for space commerce and exploration. 2. Students have a hard time identifying relevant space systems hardware requirements while designing a real mission. 3. The National Research Council (NRC) committee believes that training students to design and build satellite and satellite instruments, gain hands-on experience with the unique demands of satellite and satellite systems environments and operations, and acquire early knowledge of systems engineering techniques is an extremely important investment to make[4, 5].

Founded by California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University, the CubeSat project was started as a means to give universities a chance to participate in the design, production, and operation of satellite systems. Starting in 1999, the two schools

Rooney, D., & Roseman, M., & Shotridge, C., & Aschenbrenner, J., & Jayaram, S. (2009, June), Passat: A Cubesat Student Design Project For Active Control System Development And Verification Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5574

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