CubeSats are really small both in mass and size therefore one of the frequent questions regarding the platform is:
What can a CubeSat do?
CubeSats are mainly used for education therefore in many case the objective is to build a working satellite. The payload of these CubeSats is generally a camera for ‘outreach purposes’ to produce some images of Earth from orbit and send them back to Earth. However CubeSats can also be used for validation of new components, mechanisms and other innovative engineering in space environment. Some big companies such as Astrium are using CubeSats for this purpose. CubeSats can also be used for science missions, even though the payload size and mass is very constrained there are many scientific experiments which would require space environment. Last but not least in the near future CubeSats could potentially work together to achieve a scientific goal previously only achiaveble by far larger satellites.
Do something useful!
If you are building a CubeSat why not use it to benefit science and spacecraft engineering? The best way to do something useful is to contact other people and tell them what you are doing. You can contact other departments at your university to gather ideas for scientific payload or local companies to find out if there is any new technology which can be validated on your CubeSat. In the end you might even get some extra funds for your project. Alternatively you can advertise a payload opportunity to a much wider audience at the UKSEDS FORUM or browse the list of our industrial partners.
2009 University of Southampton.
The second SUSat (Southampton University Satellite) team started work on SUSat in October. It have soon be realised that the payload requirements need to be set before any further work could be done on the subsystems. The team wrote up a Call for Proposals document which described the mission (CubeSat specifications) the expected timescale of the project and the expected space environment. The Call for Proposals document was sent out to every department of the university. The team received incredible number of responses from various researchers and students. Finally taking the difficulty of various missions into account a proposal from the Department of Geography was accepted. SUSat is currently a Moon Spectroscopy mission. To find out more visit the SUSat site.