An arduino sent into space

Hi !
I have a project in partnership with the European Space Agency to send a little satellite into space thanks to a rocket.
I am in charge of the electrical part which has to measure some datas (vibrations, acceleration, rotation, ...), and save it on a sd card.
I have though to use an Arduino card to collect all these datas for its ease to use and its low cost, however I don't know if such a project is possible. Is an arduino can resist to vibration, to the empty of space, to the radiations ... ?

Do you know an Arduino project sent into space such as mine ? Or do you have some help to give me please ?

This site may help:

Thanks, but the satellite doesn't use an rduino card, is it ?

Not Arduino, but there's documentation on a similar project here: Meet The Fox Project – AMSAT

There are a lot of hurdles in putting electronics in space, especially if they are mission critical. Not that "low cost and ease of use" are inherently bad goals, but if they are the primarily selection criteria for this particular application, you're going about it all wrong.

Interesting, is this a real project or just an exersize ?

If real then I would have expected to see some mention of the type and size of satellite, 'little' is fairly meaningless.

And why record the data on a SD card, your not going to get it back to plug into a PC ...............

It would be normal for someone like ESA to give a project like this to an experienced team and low cost would not normally be a consideration, you need what works.

I dont think an Arduino board has been in orbit, it would be unsuitable anway, although the Atmel processors will have been.

Some not so obvious points to consider:

All electric/electronic parts must withstand vibrations and accelerations, as occurring during the start and rise of the rocket. This defeats the use of electrolytic caps, transistors in metal case, and perhaps further parts, which contain some liquid or cantilever bonding wires. Dunno about batteries for such demands.

Does the offer include a satellite, or do you have to construct it yourself as well? The engines and software for the satellite orientation and orbit stabilization were far beyond my capabilities. Without such stabilization you won't get much meaningful values, and no transmission of the values back to earth. A landing system and heat protection for re-entry also were beyond my capabilities and financial resources :frowning:

I'd suggest a test of the satellite, by launching it using a hobby rocket. Don't forget a parachute for getting back at least the satellite in reusable state. When everything works within the lower atmosphere, you can start thinking about a launch into space.

Dunno about batteries for such demands.

Lithiums are OK, and small and light.

Most are vacuum packed already, the only real gotcha is to be ultra careful with the charge setup. A cell that starts to gas (swell) on Earth is one thing, in the vacuum of space it could explode.

For the record;

$50SAT did not use an Arduino, it was based in a PICAXE processor. However the project demonstrated, for the first time really, that a simple satellite could be built using commercial off the shelf components.

Much was learnt;

You cannot add simple.

The more you add the more there is to go wrong.

You can manage without (very expensive) space hardned components.

Even a $5 radio module can be persuaded to send data over great distances, 2000km+.

Low mass satellites will endure major temperature cycling, -30C to +30C each orbit.

Passive stabilisation is not difficult, just use a small powerful magnet.

You need a power management strategy, the sun does not always shine in space.

Do not make last changes to software, proven reliability is key.

Charged very carefully, Lithium batteries will last a long time.

Solar panels need filters in front of them.

Test, Test and Test again, then do some more Testing.

Good Luck, you will need it.

Stuart Robinson
$50SAT Team