Hands-on education is recognized to be an invlauable tool to improve students skills, to stimulate their enthusiasm and to educate them to team work. University class satellites programs should be developed keeping in mind that education is the main goal and that university satellites are an unique opportunity to make involved students familiar with all the space mission phases. Moreover university budgets for education programs are much lower than industrial satellite. Therefore two main constraints must be fulfilled: a time schedule fitting with the student course duration and low economic budget. These have an impact on the standard which can be followed in university class satellites programs. In this paper university-class satellite standardization is discussed on the basis of UNISAT program experience, reporting successful projects achievements and lessons learned through unsuccessful experiences. UNISAT program was established at Scuola di Ingegneria Aerospaziale by the Group of Astrodynamics of University of Rome "La Sapienza" (GAUSS) as an research and education program in which PhD and graduate students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience on small space missions. Four university satellites (UNISAT, UNISAT-2, UNISAT-3, UNISAT-4), weighting about 10 kg, have been designed, manufactured, tested and launched every two years since 2000 in the framework of this program In the paper, after a brief overview of GAUSS new programs, an analysis of UNISAT satellites ground test campaign is carried out, identifying the most critical procedures and requirements to be fulfilled. Moreover a device for Low Earth Orbit low-cost satellite end-oflife disposal is presented, this system (SIRDARIA) pemits to fulfil with the international guidelines on space debris.
A Space Standards Proposal For University-Class Microsatellites / Piergentili, Fabrizio; Santoni, Fabio; Graziani, Filippo. - STAMPA. - (2008), pp. 7049-7062. (Intervento presentato al convegno 59th International Astronautical Congress tenutosi a Glasgow, UK nel 29 September - 3 October 2008).