World's largest database of nanosatellites,
more than 1600 nanosats and CubeSats

Constellations, companies, top technologies, instruments, missions and more

Facts as of 29 November 2016

  • Nanosatellites launched in total: 564
  • CubeSats launched in total: 496
  • Nanosatellites in orbit: 291
  • Operational nanosatellites: 210
  • Nanosatellites destroyed during launch: 70

NANOSATELLITE & CUBESAT DATABASE

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Last major update: 2016-11-29
Last update: 2016-11-29

NANOSATELLITE COMPANIES

CubeSat companies and startups offering hardware, software and services for or with nanosatellites.

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Notable Upcoming CubeSat Missions

Mission Destination Launch Summary Image
CPOD LEO 2017 Docking with 3U nanosatellites. Will demonstrate precision flying around each other and then docking. Will enable to explore asteroids, moons and to inspect other spacecraft.
INSPIRE Earth escape 2017 Goal of two 3U INSPIRE spacecraft is to open deep space to CubeSats and demonstrate necessary functions like telecommunication and navigation. Will be the first interplanetary and deep space CubeSat.
RSat (Repair CubeSat) LEO 2017 Two 7 DoF robotic arms fitted with manipulators to enable inspection and servicing. Operates with BRICSat that provides propulsion and attitude control. Magnetic docking system will include power and data pass-through. Part of AMODS (Autonomous Mobile On-orbit Diagnostic System).
CAPE-MIRCA LEO 2018 Micro return capsule is the first planetary atmosphere entry probe flight prototype to measure density, temperature and composition. GAMASAT also has re-entry capsule and will launch in 2016 with QB50, but not sure if and how capsule will be released.
Mars Cube One (MarCO) Mars flyby 2018 Two 6U deep space CubeSats were planned to be launched in 2016, but delayed due to InSight Mars lander. They will flyby Mars during the landing of InSight and relay status in real time, which is not possible today.
NEA Scout Asteroid flyby 2018 First CubeSat to reach an asteroid and map it using an ~80 m2 solar sail for propulsion. One of 13 6U CubeSats that will launch with a new NASA SLS rocket in 2018 which will send Orion capsule on a trip around the Moon.
Lunar Flashlight Moon orbit 2018 First CubeSat to reach the Moon and the first to use lasers to look for water ice. Near infrared lasers will shine light into the shaded polar regions, while the spectrometer measures surface reflection and composition. One of 13 6U SLS CubeSats.
OMOTENASHI Moon orbit,
Moon surface
2018 Will release a 1 kg lunar lander with inflatable airbags to demonstrate technology for low-cost and very small spacecraft to explore the lunar surface and will measure the radiation environment. One of 13 6U SLS CubeSats.
AIM/AIDA CubeSats Didymos, asteroid 2020 European Space Agency (ESA) Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) spacecraft to Didymos will include two 3U CubeSats that will be selected from ASPECT, AGEX, PALS, CUBATA or DUSTCUBE CubeSat studies.
SWIMSat GEO 2021 6U CubeSat to monitor solar Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and monitor Earth meteor impacts. Might be the first CubeSat to geostationary (GEO) orbit, but too early to know for sure.
DARCSIDE Europa, Jupiter moon 2025 3U CubeSat flying with Europa Clipper spacecraft to study Europa's atmosphere. Experiments are planned to be drag measurement and high energy particle detector.

Last update: 2016-11-13

CubeSat Commercial Constellations and Investments

Organization Launched /
Planned network
First
launch
Form factor Field Funding Image
Planet 179 / 150+ 2013 3U Earth observation $183 million
Spire 17 / 100+ 2013 3U Weather / AIS $69.5 million
Planetary Resources 2 / 10 2014 12U Earth observation $21.1+ million
Astro Digital (Aquila) 2 / 10+20 2014 6U & 16U Earth observation ?
Hera Systems 0 / 9-48 2016 12U Earth observation $4.2+ million
Sky and Space Global 0 / 200 2017 3U IoT / M2M / Voice $4.5 million
Kepler Communications 0 / 140 2017 3U IoT / M2M $5 million
Fleet Space 0 / 100 2017 12U IoT / M2M ?
Astrocast 0 / 64 2017 3U IoT / M2M $0.75+ million
Helios Wire 0 / 30 2018 16U IoT / M2M $1 million
Harris 0 / 12 2019 6U Weather ?
Analytical Space 0 / ? ? 6U Relay / IoT / M2M ?
Karten Space 0 / ? ? 6U Earth observation / AIS ?
Blink Astro 0 / ? ? 3U IoT / M2M ?
4skies 0 / ? ? 12U IoT / M2M ?
Magnitude Space 0 / ? ? 3U IoT / M2M ?
Terran Orbital 0 / ? ? ? IoT / M2M ?
SkyFi 0 / 60 ? 3U Internet $3 million

Last update: 2016-11-21

State-of-the-art CubeSat Technologies

Complimentary reading are NASA Small Spacecraft Technology State of the Art and Achieving Science with CubeSats reports.

Technology Organization Summary Image
Communications Planet 120+ Mbit/s to 5 m ground station in X band with patch antenna.
NASA Mars Cube One (MarCO) reflectarray capable of 8 Kbit/s from Mars in X-band. Three 33.3 cm x 19.9 cm panels achieve >28 dB gain at 8.4 GHz.
NASA KaPDA parabolic deployable Ka-band antenna with 0.5 m diameter, 1.5U stowed size, 1.2 kg mass and 42.5 dB gain.
NASA Iris V2 Transponder. Parameters include 0.5U, 1.2 kg and interoperability with Deep Space Network (DSN) at X-band.
Astro Digital
(Aquila)
40 Mbit/s in 26.8 GHz Ka-band with patch antenna on Perseus-M 6U CubeSats. Module is about 1U and 1 kg.
Aerospace 1.5U AeroCube-7 (OCSD) will do optical communications with data rates up to 622 Mbps using 80 cm ground station.
Syrlinks EWC27 X Band transmitter. Up to 100 Mbps. Up to 13.3 GB per pass can be downloaded on a 5 m station or 5.8 GB with a 3.4 m station.
QuickSAT (Globalstar) Using GlobalStar satellite network for 24/7 communications. Module is only 44 × 88 mm, weighs 25 g and consumes 200 mW with 500 mW peak.
Power Planet 3+3 3U deployable solar panels
MMA Design HaWK steerable 3 × 3U solar arrays capable of tracking Sun and 36W peak power. Might use Honeybee SADA drive actuator.
NASA ISARA has solar cells opposite the reflectarray. 3 × 3U panels achieve 33 dB of gain at 26 GHz and data rates about 100 Mbps.
Compact Satellite Bus Planet Bus is a wrap-around design of about 0.25U - 0.5U total volume. Includes star camera, GPS, 4 reaction wheels.
Tyvak Intrepid platform avionics, power system, communication, and payload interface are all hosted in a 9 × 9 × 3 cm package.
Propulsion NASA Solar sail with an area of ~86 m2 that fits into 2U and has 2.5 kg mass.
Busek BIT-3 propulsion sized 2.5U includes 1.5 kg solid iodine propellant and will provide 6U CubeSat up to 3 km/s of delta-V.
Phase Four CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster (CAT) sized 4U could provide 8 km/s of delta-V for 6 kg dry mass satellite consuming 2.56 kg of water.
Booms Oxford Space Systems AstroTube retractable boom with up to 3 m length and less than 0.5U size.

Last update: 2016-10-23

CubeSat Instruments

Last update: 2016-11-19

Good overview of CubeSat instruments and technology progress by Anthony Freeman from 2016
Planetary Decadal Science Mapping and Nanosat-Compatible Instrument Availability by Caltech from 2016

Technology Some applications Organization or instrument Description Image
Visible and near-IR cameras Determine asteroid’s shape, rotational properties, spectral class, local dust and debris field, regional morphology and regolith properties. Planet Scope PS2 29 MP detector capable of taking images with 3.7 m ground resolution and swath of 24.6 km × 16.4 km from 475 km altitude.
Hera Systems 1-meter resolution imaging satellite is built on a 12U cubesat, 22-kilogram form factor.
Astro Digital (Aquila) 6U has 22 m resolution in RGB and NIR. 16U has 2.5 m resolution in RGB, red edge, and NIR using 70 MP sensor and butcher block filter.
Malin Space Systems ECAM C-50 imager uses the Aptina MT9P031 sensor certified for deep space. 5 MP (2592 x 1944) CMOS.
JPL IntelliCam 20 MP, 15 deg FOV. 10 cm/pix at ~800 m. Asteroid (~5-12 m) detection from ~50K km. Science and optical (autonomous) naviation.
Microwave radars Precipitation profiling NASA KaPDA Ka-band antenna KaPDA parabolic deployable Ka-band antenna with 0.5 m diameter, 1.5U stowed size, 1.2 kg mass and 42.5 dB gain.
Infrared imagers Characterize volatiles and minerals.

Measure temp and water vapor in atmosphere.

Night-imaging, temperature mapping.
NASA BIRCHES 1.5U, 2.5 kg, 5 W. Spectral resolution (5 nm) to characterize volatiles (water etc) and minerals (oxides etc). Micro-crycooler to keep <140 K.
Thoth Argus 1000 Infrared Range: 1000 nm - 1700 nm. Spectral resolution: 6 nm. 15 mm aperture, 0.15° FoV. Envelope: 45 × 50 × 80 mm. Mass < 230 g.
MWIR Grating Spectrometer (CIRAS) Spatial: 13.5 × 0.32 km. Spectral: 4.8-5.1 μm. 625 Channels. HOT-BIRD detectors comparable to HgCdTe at much reduced cost.
Planetary Resources MWIR Midwave infrared imager (MWIR) in 3-5 μm with 15 m ground resolution.
Hyperspectral imagers / spectrometers
Material detection, crop identification, soil moisture, oil spill concentrations, monitoring pollutatns, hazardous gases.
Harris Fourier Spectrometer (CubeSat-FTS) 4 cm aperture, MWIR band only (5.7-8.3 um). Cooled to ~120K using an AVHRR-based passive cooler. Hundreds of hyperspectral bands.
Planetary Resources VNIR Visible-NIR 40 channel hyperspectral imager with 10 m resolution.
Planetary Resources CHAP Visible, NIR, IR and far-UV (90-140 nm) possible, 400 channels. Co-registration of spatial and spectral information.
VTT VISION Tunable spectral imager operating in the visible and near-infrared spectra (430 – 800 nm) for ozone vertical profile measurement.
ESA Mini-TMA 90 m ground resolution, 565 km swath, 400-800 nm range, 300 channels, 15 nm spectral resolution, 150 g, 60 × 50 × 30 mm.
Snow and Water Imaging Spectrometer (SWIS) 4U, 1.9 kg, 350-1700 nm region with 5.7 nm sampling, 10 deg FoV, 160 m resolution from 500 km.
Neutron spectrometers Map hydrogen (and water) abundances NASA Mini-NS (Neutron Spectrometer) 2.5U detector using Cs2YLiCl6:Ce (CLYC) scintillator material to detect epithermal neutrons at spatial scales below 10 km.
X-ray Chemical composition Amptek X-123SDD 7 × 10 × 2.5 cm, 180 g, 2.5 Watts, solar SXR spectral measurements in the 0.5-30 keV range (0.04-2.5 nm) with 0.15 keV energy resolution.
REDLEN M1770 Precise measurement of the cosmic (diffuse) X-ray background in the 20 – 50 KeV range.
Lobster Eye X‐ray telescope Wide‐field optical system for X‐ray monitoring in range 3 ‐ 40 keV, based on Lobster Eye optics and Timepix detector
Mass spectrometer Elemental composition Quadrupole Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer (QIT-MS) 2.5 kg, 2U, isotopic accuracy <1%.
Gamma ray spectrometer Sub-surface composition Miniaturized SrI2 Gamma Ray Spectrometer 1U, 0.5 kg, 3 W. Europium-doped strontium iodide (SrI2) crystal is 15 × 15 × 10 mm.

Advanced CubeSat Concepts

Last update: 2016-11-13

Many future space science mission concepts in Keck Institute Final Report from 2014.

Field Technology or concept Summary Image
Communications Structureless antenna Under funding from DARPA, Tethers Unlimited is developing technology that will enable new capabilities for small, low-power nanosatellites such as transmission of real-time video from GEO.
Inflatable antennas NASA JPL is leading the development of inflatable X-band antenna with 34 dBi gain, 0.5U stowage volume that uses sublimating powder and is highly scalable. Arizona State University is also involved.
Optics 6U Collapsible Telescope NASA Ames 6U Collapsible Telescope primary mirror diameter is 152.6 mm (6 inches). Fits into 13.8 cm × 20.3 cm × 7 cm.
3U Folded Telescope UK Astronomy Technology Centre solution estimated resolution from 300 km altitude is about 0.5 m per pixel with a 3U CubeSat. Volume of the folded system is 1.5U.
3U Deployable Telescope Utah State University solution ground sampling distance is 1.3 m. The rectangular full field of view is 0.7° by 0.5° giving a ground coverage of 6.1 km by 4.6 km from a 500 km altitude with a 3U CubeSat. Fits within a 2.5U volume, but length can be reduced to 175 mm.
Carbon-nanotube mirrors with integrated actuators Made of carbon nanotubes embedded in an epoxy resin. Lightweight, highly stable, easily reproducible and do not require polishing. Just pour the mixture of epoxy and carbon nanotubes into a mandrel or mold and let it cure and harden.
SAR
(Synthetic Aperture Radar)
12U Ka-Band CubesatSAR 6U spacecraft, 12U total volume. Capable of 10 m resolution from 400 km. 3 min on-time per orbit. Tx power is 120 W and DC power in burst mode is 80W. Antenna size 1.7 × 3 m. Data rate is 104 Mbps and downlink rate is 40 Mbps
6U SRI CubeSat Imaging Radar SRI-CIRES is designed for 500 km altitude, 2.9 GHz S-band, 25 m spatial resolution, 3.2 × 1.6 m. Module volume less 1U and < 1 kg. Interferometric SAR (InSAR) for Earth science.
NanoSAR Antenna is 1.14 × 0.18 m, 5.8 GHz frequency. Swath width of 60 km and pixel size of 10 × 3 m from 350 km altitude. Study by Delft from 2012.
Servicing & Inspection Multi-Purpose CubeSat at ISS ESA study lead by Tyvak will include refueling from ISS and autonomous inspection of ISS.
Power Thin film solar cells Enable much larger solar panels (blanket arrays) in the same volume and mass that can be folded or rolled. Alta Devices 2U concept can produce 29W with much room to grow using their record efficient and bendable cells.
Radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) PocketRTG is a study by University of Bristol for a CubeSat-scale RTG using COTS fuel. Measures 0.5U and mass is 0.5 kg, but output is currently only 50 mW. Also studied by NASA Glenn for Lunar missions in permanently shadowed regions.
Missions Mars Micro Orbiter 6U Cubesat to measure the Martian atmosphere in visible and infrared wavelengths from Mars orbit. Can also act as orbital communication relay for surface-based missions.
DAVID 6U CubeSat will flyby an asteroid much smaller than any investigated by now. Instruments are wide-field camera, a narrow-field camera and a point VNIR spectrometer.
L5 Space Weather Sentinels (L5SWS) One Keck Institude study proposes fractionated space weather monitoring from the Sun-Earth L5 point with 5 × 6U CubeSats. One is telecom and others would carry specific instruments. 98 m2 solar sails are used to enter orbit and perform station keeping.

CubeSat Launch Provides, Programs and Prices

Last update: 2016-10-15
Provider Number launched First launch Cost
Terran Orbital / Tyvak 121+ (40+ planned) 2003
ISIS (Innovative Solutions In Space) 75+ 2009 $210,000 - 270,000 for 3U LEO
NASA CSLI and ELaNa 46+ (120 selected) 2011 Free
ESA Fly your Satellite! 10 2012 Free
JAMSS / JAXA 10+ 2012
Nanoracks 80+ 2012 $85,000 for 1U
Spaceflight 77+ 2013 $295,000 for 3U LEO
$545,000 for 6U LEO
$995,000 for 12U LEO
GTO and Lunar also listed
G.A.U.S.S. 12+ 2013
ULA (United Launch Alliance) 0 2017 Free
Rocket Lab 0 (722 booked until middle 2019) 2017 $70,000 - 80,000 for 1U LEO
$200,000 - 250,000 for 3U LEO
Virgin Galactic LauncherOne 0 2017 Assuming $10 million and 40 CubeSats gives $250,000 per 3U.
KiboCUBE (UNOOSA, JAXA) 0 2018 Free
Vector Space 0 2018

Best overview of (upcoming) small satellite launchers by Carlos Niederstrasser and Warren Frick of Orbital ATK at IAC 2016. (I will mostly wait for the first launch before adding.)
There are many more providers and special (free) launch opportunities and competitions. e.g. with SLS to Moon through Cube Quest and with ESA AIM to Didymos asteroid.
Most nanosatellites from Japan, India, China and Russia are launched by their space agencies.
PW-Sat2 Preliminary Requirements Review includes a table about 2U launch offers from 2014.

Ground Station Networks for Small Satellites

Organization Sites active/planned Status Bands Cost Investments
Spaceflight Networks 3 / 20+ Operational UHF, S, X $1.95/min for UHF. $19.95/min for S/X band.
KSAT Light 22 / 22 Operational VHF, UHF, S, X, Ka 250€/pass ?
SSC Infinity ? / ? Operational
SatNOGS 6 / ? Operational VHF, UHF Free
ATLAS 9 / 9 Operational UHF, S, X, Ka
Leaf Space 0 / 20 Coming in 2017 VHF, UHF, S, X 5€/Mbyte to receive UHV/VHF. 0.4€/Mbyte to receive S band. 0.1€/Mbyte to receive X band. $1.1 million
Audacy 0 / ? Planned for 2019 $2 million
RBC Signals ? / 16 In private Beta UHF, S, X, Ka Yes

Last update: 2016-09-23

Nanosatellite Crowdfunding Campaigns

Last update: 2016-11-19
Project name Organization Raised Goal Year Platform
KickSat Cornell University $74,586 $30,000 2011 Kickstarter
Sampling Space - $880 $20,000 2011 Kickstarter
ArduSat Nanosatisfy (Spire) $106,330 $35,000 2012 Kickstarter
SkyCube Southern Stars $116,890 $82,500 2012 Kickstarter
LunarSail - $15,817 $11,000 2013 Kickstarter
CAT Thruster University of Michigan $67,865 $200,000 2013 Kickstarter
ARKYD Planetary Resources $1,505,366 $1,000,000 2013 Kickstarter
PocketQube PocketQube Shop $3,900 $3,700 2013 Kickstarter
Fox-1C AMSAT $26,661 $25,000 2014 Fundrazr
Ex-Alta 1 University of Alberta $36,681 $30,000 2014 Useed
UW Race to Moon University of Washington $16,541 $50,000 2015 Useed@UW
Caelus - $4 $3,800 2015 Kickstarter
OzQube-1 - $2,330 $50,000 2015 GoFundMe
BroncoSat 1 - $0 $100,000 2015 C3Funding
LightSail The Planetary Society $1,241,615 $200,000 2015 Kickstarter
Mayak Moscow State University $3,157 $45,000 2015 Kickstarter
CubeSat Spaceport Indiana $63 $60,000 2015 Kickstarter
CubeSat 4 Disclosure - $13,280
$10,770
$62 (running)
$12,000
$10,000
$5,000
2015
2016
2016
Indiegogo
Kickstarter
Kickstarter
KitCube Lunar Orbiter MIT $124,125 $100,000 2016 Crowdfund MIT
Irazú ACAE $81,369 $75,000 2016 Kickstarter
Cu-REO UPES $165 $40,000 2016 Indiegogo
HyperQube Weebill Space Systems $1,712 $230,000 2016 Kickstarter
Cislunar Explorers Cornell University $3,048 $50,000 2016 Kickstarter
SPOC Sat University of Georgia $5,377 $25,000 2016 GeorgiaFunder
Project DaVinci North Idaho STEM Charter Academy $1,175 $250,000 2016 Kickstarter

NOTES

Database includes and term nanosatellite implies them all:

Database does not include (usually):

  • Femtosatellites (10 g to 100 g) and chipsats.
  • Suborbitally launched satellites.
  • Satellites only in idea or concept phase. Often difficult to determine.
  • Data is since 1998. There were at least 21 additional nanosatellites launched in the 1960s (Vanguard, OSCAR, ERS).

Comments:

  • "-" and TBD (To Be Determined) are used when empty or unknown.
  • It was possible to Edit, but had to disable the option for now. A menu with "Edit" button would have appeared to the left of satellite name.
  • In some cases an educational guess has been made. Apologies for possible mistakes, please let me know.
  • "Mission type" and "Mission type description" are part of Space Taxonomy shared by Hector Guerrero-Padron from European Commission Space Policy and Research Unit in 2014.

SOURCES

Major update is reviewing at least the following sources:

  • Launch schedules such as Gunter's Space Page.
  • Frequency coordination statuses from IARU.
  • News articles and social media posts collected between updates.
  • Presentations and proceedings from CubeSat related conferences.
  • Reentered nanosatellites from Space-Track.org.
  • Radio amateur blogs such as DK3WN SatBlog.


BACKGROUND

This database began during European Commission FP7 NANOSAT project in 2013 - 2014, short for "Utilizing the potential of NANOSATellites for the implementation of European Space Policy and space innovation".

Project consortium consisted of the following organisations

Content disclaimer: source should be stated.

CONTACT

Feel free to connect at any time. Always glad to receive your questions and feedback.

Created by Erik Kulu

Email: erikkulu@gmail.com
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/erikkulu

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LinkedIn: Nanosatellite Database
Twitter: twitter.com/nanosatellites