KRAKsat – satellite built at AGH-UST has been sent to space

The satellite was carried by the Antares 230 rocket

Students from the KRAKsat Team together with the satellite

KRAKsat satellite model

KRAKsat Satellite constructed by AGH UST students has been sent to space recently. On 17th. April the rocket called Antares 230, which carried the satellite, was launched from the NASA-owned Wallops Flight Facility located on the East Coast of the United States. KRAKsat is the world’s first Cubesat-type satellite to use ferrofluid – a magnetic liquid – for satellite attitude control.  

The student satellite was launched at 22:46 CET from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility on the East Coast of the US. It was carried to space by the Cygnus spacecraft, carrying standard supplies for the International Space Station (ISS). After a few weeks spent at the station, the satellite will be released into space at the altitude of approximately 400 km.

The main aim behind the KRAKsat mission is to research how ferrofluid – fluid magnet – will behave in space. The project authors are planning to test the idea of using this liquid as a fly wheel allowing reduction of the satellite’s rotational speed.

In addition, the orbiter will make a series of measurements covering temperature, magnetic field, light intensity and other factors which the team of designers would like to investigate taking the advantage of their satellite’s presence in space. During this time, the device will have to withstand the extreme conditions prevalent in the ionosphere, such as prominent temperature variations (from -170°C to 110°C), low pressure, microgravity or the presence of ionised gases. After one year of continuous measurements and experiments the satellite will lose its velocity and burn in the atmosphere.

The satellite carried a small memory card containing over a thousand photographs sent in by those who took part in the ‘Fly to Space!’ event organised in January by the project authors. All space enthusiasts could contribute any photographic or graphical input related to theme to be later sent into the Earth’s orbit.

KRAKsat is a joint project delivered by students of AGH University of Science and Technology and Jagiellonian University. It is also one of the first Cubesat satellites produced in Poland and the world’s first satellite to use magnetic fluid for attitude control. The instrument developed in Kraków is the fifth Polish satellite to have been launched into the Earth’s orbit.

The satellite was developed and built at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics, Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering and the Integra Student Research Association, in close collaboration with the SatRevolution company.