How long does it take to build a CubeSat?

Building a CubeSat is an attractive option for those interested in satellite development. 

CubeSats are simpler, smaller, and use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts which practically anybody can buy.

However, they do require some technical knowledge and experience with electronics. 

Not only that, but development even for a nanosatellite requires patience. 

So, how long does it take to build a CubeSat?

How long does it take to design a CubeSat?

Designing a CubeSat isn’t on the same level as designing a conventional satellite.

Conventional satellites have huge frames that need to withstand extremes of temperature and hostile, debris-laden space. Not only do their frames and payloads need to be designed for a harsh environment, but so too does every last component down to the bolts holding everything together.

Conversely, CubeSats are composed of small units fitting into premade, space-ready structures. They do not need to be designed in the same way as conventional satellites, and given their use of COTS parts, much of their makeup is ready to buy and assemble.

For that reason, designing a CubeSat may take only months, or weeks, depending on the complexity of its payload.

How long does it take to build a CubeSat?

The very reason for the invention of CubeSats was to simplify the design and building of satellites. 

Initially a concept made so that university students could practice and experiment with spacecraft development, their use of structures and COTS components saves a lot of the time when building.

While proprietary technology can be developed and used in CubeSats, the general COTS nature of their makeups makes them much quicker to build than conventional satellites.

The building phase of a CubeSat’s entire development cycle could take up only a handful of months.

How long does a CubeSat last?

The useful life of a CubeSat often sits around a year, but a CubeSat can remain in space for many years long after it ceases to serve any purpose.

A CubeSat in orbit can last for several years until they deorbit. Once their orbit erodes to the point that they begin to fall through Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up and are effectively destroyed.

For this reason, CubeSats sadly cannot be recycled to extend their lifespans.

How can Bright Ascension help with building a CubeSat?

CubeSats may be small and simple, but they are still satellites at their core. As such, they need to have robust hardware and software in order to carry out their missions alone in Earth orbit.

Bright Ascension apply the off-the-shelf construction philosophy to software, providing a Flight Software Development Kit that allows CubeSat operators to perform essential functions using pre-validated software components that can be easily combined and integrated.

This takes the pressure off of sourcing or commissioning software before the CubeSat even has a chance to launch.

To find out more about how Bright Ascension helps CubeSat developers and nanosat spaceflight, contact us today.