A CubeSat is a miniaturised satellite (10x10x10 cm, weighing 1 kg) which offers all the standard functions of a normal satellite (attitude determination and control, uplink and downlink telecommunications, power subsystem including a battery and body-mounted solar panels, on-board data handling and storage by a CPU, plus either a technology package or a small sensor or camera).
They can even have deployable solar panels, antennas or booms. Limited orbit control using micropropulsion, S-band instead of VHF/UHF and wireless data transfer inside the CubeSat are now beginning to be used. It takes about two years to develop a CubeSat from the provision of funding until launch. The hardware cost of a CubeSat is normally in the range 50-100 k€ but can go up to 500 k€ for more sophisticated payloads. Up to now, about 50 CubeSats have been successfully launched, worldwide an estimated 100-150 CubeSats are being readied for launch in the next few years.
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