Nanosatellites have drawn significant attention in research communities and industrial sectors due to their small size, ease of deployment, and relatively short developmental period. CubeSat specifications have been suggested as an effort to standardize nanosatellite mission design. Standardization opens the door for inter-CubeSat communications that can be used to form a CubeSat Cloud and mimic regular large multifunctional satellites with wide range of features, measurements and sensing capabilities.
Lebanon and many Developing countries have not been involved in satellite/nanosatellite design and launch. This research paper will first present a Comprehensive CubeSat (CoCube) online database. CoCube database is created by collecting information from various resources including currently available databases, published research papers and disseminated information about various CubeSat missions.
Based on the lessons learned from comparing various CubeSat design alternatives and components’ structure and analyzing the best practices of CubeSat development, LibanSAT design is introduced. LibanSAT is a 1U CubeSat that serves two main objectives: (i) greenhouse gases observation and (ii) educational purposes. LibanSAT is designed based on existing Components Off-The-Shelf (COTS). The rapid growth in the production of ready to use COTS subsystem made missions’ design faster, simpler and more effective. We benchmarked subsystems from various suppliers including ISIS-innovative solutions in Space, Nano avionics, Clyde-space, Gomspace and Pumpkins CubeSat kit among others and chose the most suitable products for our target mission based on cost, size, weight and power consumption.
Lebanon signed the Paris Agreement of climate change in April 2016 where greenhouse gases are identified as the main critical factor causing global warming. LibanSAT mission falls under the greenhouse gases observing satellite category, also known as GoSat. The most abundant greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere can be clearly observed in the near-infrared band. As a result, the proposed spectrometer to be used as a payload is the Argus 1000 infrared spectrometer that is currently being tested as a payload in Canx2 and AlbertaSat-1 missions.
LibanSAT project serves also an educational purpose to raise awareness about the importance of space research among Lebanese academic institutions (universities and research centers). Likewise, the development of this type of technology will ensure the progress of our country and can open the opportunity for other Lebanese universities to perform space science and exploration. Future plans include designing an educational prototype that serves as a classroom CubeSat where all subsystems can be introduced for university students.
Finally, we shed special focus on communication security subsystem during LibanSAT design process. Due to the limitation in CubeSat weight, volume and power, we propose the use of a gateway mission which can be also used to route data between CubeSat Cloud nodes. The gateway is used as a firewall where all communication between ground stations and the Cloud will be handled by this central threat management entity.