KAIST’s Nanosatellite Sends Signals to Earth


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KAIST’s nanosatellite LINK (Little Intelligent Nanosatellite of KAIST) has succeeded in entering orbit one month after its launch in April, and is now sending signals back to Earth. 

At 10 a.m on May 18, Professor Hyo-Choong Bang’s team (KR01) announced that LINK had been successfully deployed into orbit via the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD), and it began sending signals back to Earth an hour later.  

The CubeSats mission is to collect low-orbit observation data for two months. In the first month the system will be undergoing inspection from ground stations to ensure it is performing properly.  

LINK is a tiny satellite that measures 20 x 20 x 10 cm, and weighs only 2 kg. Normal sized satellites in low orbits can be easily damaged by the high level of air friction at 200 to 400 km above the Earth’s surface.

As such, it is more effective to use the more affordable CubeSats in the low orbit environment. While multi-purpose satellites can cost up to hundreds of billions of won, CubeSats are significantly cheaper at less than 500 million won. 

LINK is equipped with an ion-neutral mass spectrometer and two Langmuir probes, which were developed by a research team led by Professor Kyoung Wook Min of the Department of Physics at KAIST.  

LINK was developed as part of the QB50 project, initiated in 2012 by the Von Karman Institute in Belgium. More than 23 countries are participating in the international network of CubeSats under QB50.  

Professor Hyo-Choong Bang said, "The CubeSat will not only serve an educational purpose in the QB50 project, but will also be used on scientific missions. We expect to get meaningful data.  

This is the first attempt to make low orbit observations with multiple CubeSats in the world. We will use this experience to develop more satellites and conduct experiments in space.”  

LINK also received funding from the 2012 CubeSat Competition sponsored by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. 

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