About Instruments Today No. 238


Dr. Wing-Huen Ip, Academicians of Academia Sinica - Look for Research Areas with Great Potential for Making Breakthroughs

Claire Lin

CubeSats and Payloads

Special Issue Introduction of “CubeSats and Payloads”

Jyh-Ching Juang

The Evolution of Cube Satellites

Jyh-Ching Juang

Cube satellites (CubeSats) standards, and the consequent reductions of size, weight, and development time, have simplified the design of satellites and the arrangement of launch. In the past several years, the CubeSats have revolutionized the space industry and promoted a variety of space business models. Academic organizations in Taiwan have actively involved in the development and applications of CubeSats, leading to the launches of 10 CubeSats in the past 10 years. The CubeSats can be further explored from the upstream and downstream to take advantage of domestic industrial strengths, technological innovations, and international collaborations.

Brief Review of Satellite Technology in University Education and the CubeSat Development at National Formosa University

Wen-Chi Lu

Since its establishment, the high visibility of SpaceX, coupled with the global trend sparked by the low-orbit communication satellite system Starlink, has prompted our country to promote the space industry as one of our six core strategic industries. The education of space technology in Taiwan universities has also been emphasized in this trend. Taiwan universities have accumulated considerable experience in the development of microsatellites to cubic satellites in recent years. However, the talent cultivated in this field is still relatively scarce. Last year, under the promotion of the Ministry of Education, four schools established institutes of space system engineering to expand the talent pool in space technology. National Formosa University, through its participation in the National Space Organization's cubic satellite program, has had the opportunity to go through all stages of satellite development from design to orbit operation. During this period, over 10 graduate students have been traned and established capabilities in the development of basic subsystems for cubic satellites.

CubeSat Intelligent Remote Sensing Payload System and Edge Computing Circuit Design

Pei-Jun Lee, Pei-Hsiang Hsu

This project is dedicated to the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the onboard system of intelligent remote sensing CubeSats, specifically focusing on RGB satellite image processing. By integrating AI edge computing, we have achieved rapid and resourceefficient processing of satellite images. The key objective of the research is to design a low-power remote sensing payload image processing circuit based on edge AI, successfully implementing AI edge computing. To address the challenge of low-light images, we propose an effective brightness enhancement algorithm, ensuring that the processed images are more easily recognizable through comparisons with different loss functions. The edge computation employs a convolution architecture implemented on an FPGA, providing an efficient neural network acceleration with the same functionality.

Introduction to Electric Ppropulsion System Aapplied Small Satellites

Yueh-Heng Li, Sheng-Wen Liu, Ping-Han Huang

Thanks to a significant reduction in the cost of launching small satellites, various governments and numerous private companies have invested in development, leading to the rapid growth of low Earth orbit satellite communication in recent years. Low Earth orbit satellite communication involves deploying a large number of small satellites in low Earth orbit to form constellations, increasing coverage with characteristics such as low latency and high bandwidth. To meet the attitude control and orbit control requirements of small satellites in orbit, the corresponding propulsion system development needs have emerged. One type of electric propulsion system, with advantages such as high specific impulse and high thrust-to-power ratio, can provide the necessary velocity changes (Δv) for small satellite missions and is widely used in small satellites around the world.

Introduction to Satellite Optical Communications

Chia-Hao Chang, Yu-Hsuan Lin, Yen-Fu Chen, Chien-Hsi Lin, Shih-Cian Lin, Kuan-Yu Chu, Chien-Yi Cheng, Chun-Ting Lin

By using highly maneuverable vehicles such as drones and airplanes, B5G/6G enables more timely data transmission in small areas and deploys more extensive communication networks in the air where optical fiber cannot be distributed through medium/low orbit satellites. The system of satellite laser optical communication technology has a narrower transmission beam divergence angle than traditional radio frequency, and can have a higher data transmission rate (> 1 Gbps). Relying on the characteristics of high satellite coverage and high mobility, combined with multiple communication technologies on the surface, a 4D heterogeneous network layer in space/sky/sea/ land can be realized. This article will introduce the design and connection of each optical payload system through the derivation of optical link margin and the workflow of low-orbit satellite-to-earth transmission.

Think Outside the Box – The Challenges and Opportunities of CubeSats

Chia-Ray Chen

The standardized specifications of CubeSats make system design, manufacturing and launch relatively easy. This technical standard not only helps save design time, but also provides designers with more customization flexibility. Modular configuration allows designers to easily mix and match different components and functionality. After more than 20 years of development, CubeSats have become an indispensable part of the space industry. In addition to their functions of education and technology demonstration, they also play an important role in related application fields such as remote sensing, Internet of Things, and meteorology.

Observations on the Business Development of Taiwan Space Industry

Albert Weng

The global space industry has developed rapidly since SpaceX successfully launched a recoverable rocket in 2008. In 2021, the passage of Space Development Act by the Taiwan government as well as included space industry in its “Six Core Strategic Industries” as national initiative. Taiwan's industry, government, academia, and research institute devoted themselves to accumulating industrial strength of the technology industry to shorten the distance of space industry development. The cultivation of talent in the role of Business Development (BD) is crucial for startups. The current Taiwan’s space educations emphasize more on engineering with a good success. However, taking example by the University of Luxembourg’s space master program, the Master in Space Tech and Business, around its 18.89% of curriculum are dedicated for business courses, aligning with the goal to merge the talents from both engineering excellence as well as business success. This strategy behind the space industry development could serve as a reference for Taiwan’s administrations and institutions. Following the market analysis of the space industry, fundraising is another top skill among the space startups one should master as BD. Founders or CEOs of the startups often assume the role of the first BD officer. To pitch successfully, the version of the pitch should be tailored per individual investor meeting, in order to address the concern specifically and precisely.

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