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Building a Cubesat can be challenging enough, finding the parts to get started shouldn’t be. To help save you time (and possibly money) I’ve assembled a large list of suppliers for every conceivable part of a Cubesat including the structure, solar panels, fasteners and even Kapton tape. Where possible I have included flight heritage or any other helpful information.

If you have experience with any of these suppliers or have one to add, please contact me.

Cubesat Hardware

Astronautical Development

Astro Dev 1

Astronautical Development offers several production quality radios, antenna’s, structures and processor boards. According to the website their flight heritage includes: RAX-1 (Lithium 1 Radio and CSK Phasing Board) and CAERUS (Mini Phasing Board)

Radios, Phasing Boards

Website

 Blue Canyon Technologies

Blue Canyon Technologies

Blue Canyon Technologies provides a range of spacecraft systems and components specifically for Cubesats. This includes Attitude Control Systems,  Star Trackers, Micro Reaction Wheels and a Spacecraft Bus. Like many of the vendors building hardware specifically for Cubesats, BCT focuses on small spacecraft design and engineering. They were started in 2008 and the founders have a combined 100 years of experience in spacecraft design and manufacturing.

Attitude Control Systems, Star Tracker, Reaction Wheels, Spacecraft Bus

Website

Clyde Space

Clyde Space

Clyde Space is one of the most well known Cubesat vendors around and are located in Glasgow, Scotland. The company offers a HUGE array of products…probably everything you would need. Clyde Space has also developed a 2U platform specifically for the QB50 program. They are active in space communities both online and off.

Solar Panels, Electrical Power Systems, Batteries, Structures, DC-DC Converters

Website

Freetronics

Freetronics

 

Freetronics is the official payload hardware partner for Ardusat. They also offer MobSendat, a datalogger for us in high altitude balloons and rockets. Overall, a great and affordable supplier for your Cubesat needs.

Sensors

Website

 

GomSpace

GomSpace

Founded by entrepreneurs from the University of Aalborg in Demark, the founders played a key role in AAU-Cubesat which was Europe’s first Cubesat and launched in 2003. GOMSpace offers everything from computers, solar panels and even complete Cubesat designs. With extensive flight design and experience, GOMSpace is one of the most experienced firms specializing in Cubesats.

Power, communications, computers, sensors, kits, structures, software

Website

Gauss

Gauss Team

Gauss is the only Italian Aerospace company with experience on 6 different satellite sizes and is focused on helping education institutions build Cubesats.  The company offers 1U, 2U and 3U Cubesat structures, solar panels and solar panel deployment systems.

Structures, Solar Panels

Website

 Honeybee Robotics

Honeybee Robotics

Honeybee Robotics specializes in spacecraft mechanisms and have flown hardware on the Mars Science Laboratory. Cubesat products include a Solar Array Drive and Attitude Control Systems.

Solar Arrays, Attitude Control Systems

 Website

 ISIS

ISIS

ISIS provides a one stop shop for everything from structures, launch adapters to ground stations. They also partner with other manufacturers to bring in new and innovative products.

Structures, Communications, Solar Panels, Power Systems, Launch Adapters, Support Equipment, Ground Stations, Computers, Antennas, Cameras

Website

Maryland Aerospace

Maryland Aerospace

Founded in 2002, the company provides engineering and design services for spacecraft, missiles, rockets and aircraft with a focus on small satellite design.

Attitude Control Systems

Website

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

One of the original Cubesat developers, they also have an extensive flight history. Pumpkin provides Power, Communications, Computers, Software and Structures.

Power, Communications, Software, Computers, Structures 

Website

R&R Machining

R&R machining

R&R Maching is a great machine shop run by Rick Mitchell. What’s so special about Rick you ask? Turns out he builds almost all of Dr. Twiggs Cubesat parts and launchers. Yep, Dr. Twiggs who helped invent the Cubesat. I really can’t think of a better endorsement. You can also reach him at mitch4x [at] sbcglobal.net.

Website

 

Sequoia Space

Sequoia Space

Sequoia is located in Bogota, Columbia and is mostly a reseller of existing Cubesat hardware. However, they also offer a “Space for You” education balloon package. Not designed for entering space, it is built to provide a hands on educational experience…great when you can’t afford to launch a satellite.

Cubesat Kit

Website

SpaceQuest

Spacequest

SpaceQuest was started in 1994 to provide advanced satellite technology for Governments, Universities and Businesses. The company also provided support for the Bigelow Genesis-II module.

Cubesat Transceiver

Website

Stras Space

Stras Space

While the website lists several products for Cubesats and nano-satellites, very little information is available.  Listed products include Magnetic Torque Rods, Coils and Power Supplies. However, visitors must request additional information to learn more.

Torque Rods

Website

Tethers Unlimited

Tethers Unlimited

Tethers Unlimited offers what appear to be some of the most interesting Cubesat products. They have one of the most interesting product lines available: Deorbit modules, Deployable Solar Arrays, Water based propulsion and even a robotic arm (Called the Kraken – how cool is that?). However, development status for several of these projects are currently unknown.

Deorbit, Solar Array Deployment, Propulsion Module

Website

Tyvak NanoSatellite Systems

Tyvak

Tyvak provides everything from complete kits to software and even integrated panels (including sensors, solar panels and torque coils). The company specializes in highly integrated small satellites, including Cubesats and you can download a presentation on their work here.

Integrated Structures, Spacecraft Bus, Software

Website

University of Toronto

University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is not only the only “non-business” on this list, they are also the only one that provides both hardware AND launch services. Every 2-3 years, the University launches a new CanX mission and has an extensive flight heritage. Available products include Attitude Determination and Control Systems, Cubesat Deployment Systems and satellite platforms.

Attitude Determination and Control, Deployment Systems, Spacecraft Platforms

Website

Electronics & Power

Allied Electronics

Allied Electronics

Allied Electronics offers over 2 million products online, ranging from test equipment to circuits.

Website

Alltronics

Alltronics

While Alltronics doesn’t have the largest selection available (15,000+ products), they offer unique and hard to find items (including vacuum tubes) and are worth checking out.

Website

Digikey

Digikey

If you need it immediately, check out Digi-key…they boast the world’s largest selection of electronic components available for immediate shipping. Order by 8pm and you can have it the next day. They also have a YouTube channel and produce a show called Another Geek Moment.

Website

Electronic Goldmine

Electronic Goldmine

Online supplier of Copper Clad, Resistors and everything in between.

Website

Evadot (in partnership with Kentucky Space)

Evadot

Evadot is developing a fully assembled low cost board you can use with a Cubesat, Nanoracks payload to the ISS or a high altitude balloon. Firefly is designed to be low cost AND high quality to open up space (and Near Space) projects to everyone.

Website

Ham Radio Outlet

Ham Radio Outlet

You need to talk with your spacecraft and only suckers pay retail…so why not try Ham Radio Outlet. They come recommended from really smart people who happen to be rocket scientists. So I would listen to them.

Website

Communications

Hobby Engineering

Hobby Engineering

Not so much a “spacecraft” parts provider….more of a…really cool stuff we could use for “spacecraft” projects provider. Worth checking out just to see products like their Mino Sumo robot. Apparently people compete mini sumo robots in competitions. Oh Internet, I learn something new every day.

Website

Innoflight

Innoflight

 

Innoflight manufactures the first S-band radio for Cubesats. The use commercial off the shelf technology to help reduce costs and improve reliability. Innoflight also provides equipment to the U.S. Military.

Website

 

Leijenaar Electronics

Leijenaar Electronics

I’m not going to pretend I can pronounce Leijenaar, but I can certainly appreciate the products they make. Their main product is a linear transponder for Cubesats, balloons or more earthly applications. Plus the website is available in German, Dutch and Chinese.

Website

Mouser Electronics

Mouser Electronics

Mouser Electronics offers a wide arrange products including optoelectronics, LED lighting and Embedded Solutions. One of the more “business oriented” distributors with the ability to upload your Bill of Materials for easier searches.

Website

Jameco

Jameco

On online electronics distributor that also hosts a blog of interesting projects. My favorite is the iPhone breathalyzer app. My theory, if you can make an Apple product do something it’s not supposed to…then you must know what you’re doing.

Website

Newark

Newark

A pretty solid supplier of electronic equipment with a handy “solutions resource” section so you can figure out cool stuff to do with their products.

Website

Panasonic

Panasonic

Your spacecraft needs batteries, it’s a fact of life…kind of like “death and taxes”.

Website

Batteries

Parts Express

Parts Express

While Parts Express is focused on the audio/video market. They do provide electronic parts as well. Or you could add some serious bass to your Cubesat and rock the lab.

Website

Radio Shack

Radio Shack

How could I create a list of electronics providers and NOT include RadioShack. Seriously?

Website

Sensormetrix

Sensormetrix

Sensormetrix is a provider of Spectrolab’s TASC photovoltaics.

Website

 

Space Micro

Space Micro

Radiation is not your friend, unless it’s being added to your food which is apparently OK (haven’t figured that out yet). But I digress. In space, definitely bad…which is why Space Micro is “dedicated to being a world class innovator of radiation hardened computing”. Sounds good to me.

Website

Spacecialist

Spacecialist

 

Spacecialist provides hands on engineering support and handles mission operations.

Website

 

Sparkfun

Sparkfun Electronics

Even though they have “fun” in their name, they offer serious products. Their website is easy to search and everything has a bunch of pictures for your viewing pleasure. Also, anyone who can combine the word “fun” to a word related to “fire” or “explosives” is all right in my book.

Website

Printed Circuit Boards

Spectrolab

Spectrolab

Spectrolab is THE place to buy solar cells. Seriously, they are like the only place to buy space rated solar cells. Sure, you can buy premade panels all over but they probably came from Spectrolab.

Spectrolab Solar Cell Data Sheets

Website

Solar Cells

Tenergy

Tenergy

Another battery supplier because it’s always nice to have options.

Website

Batteries

Software

Beningo Engineering

Beningo Engineering

Beningo Engineering has developed an “operating system” for your Cubesat. While each mission is unique, they’ve built a series of software tools that can quickly speed up development by taking care of the basic issues each spacecraft faces. Their API’s allow you to reuse solutions on future missions so you could be lazy in the future.

Website

Princeton Satellite Systems

Princeton Satellite Systems

Are you using Matlab to run simulations on your Cubesat? If so, you may want to check out the Spacecraft Control Toolbox from Princeton Satellite Systems.

Website

Matlab Software for Cubesats

Mechanical Parts

McMaster Carr

McMaster Carr

No hardware list would be complete without including McMaster Carr, one of the largest (if not THE largest) hardware suppliers on the planet (They stock almost 500,000 different parts). While they don’t specifically provide space qualified components, they sell everything from metals to test equipment. Odds are if you’re building your Cubesat from scratch, it is going to include a few parts from McMaster Carr.

Website

structures, test equipment, fasteners

Microfasteners

Microfasteners

With a name like Microfasteners, I probably don’t need to tell you what they sell. But I will anyway, they sell fasteners and yes…some of them are really small.

Website

Online Metals

Online Metals

I really love the obvious business names-they sell metals…on the Internet. Oh, they also sell plastics.

Website

PCB Design & Fabrication

Advanced Circuits

Advanced Circuits

 

Advanced Circuits comes recommended from Zac Manchester, the inventor of Kicksat.

Website

 

Circuits West

Circuits West

If you don’t want to (or can’t) buy an off the shelf Printed Circuit Board, you can always design your own.

Website

Express PCB

Express PCB

PCB’s…fast. What more could you want?  No really, what else do you want?

Website

SunStone

Sunstone

Sunstone is another recommendation from Zac Manchester (Kicksat Inventor).

Website

 

Other Material

Masterbond

Masterbond

What’s better than gluing your fingers together? Gluing them together with space glue. Space Glue-when you don’t feel like using a screw.

Website

Adhesives for Space Applications

Shercon

Shercon

Kapton Tape is the Duct Tape of Space. Just go buy some.

Website

Kapton Tape

Project Persephone

Project Persephone is a charitable, educational and research organization. It sells development kits for KickSat Sprites, an open source “femtosatellite.” Purchases help defray the costs of designing, making and distributing STEM education kits oriented around the basics of satellites and spaceflight, with the Sprite as the focus. These kits will mostly go to Indonesia, East Africa and Ecuador. Buying a development kit is a chance to own a prototype satellite for under $100.

Website

Femtosats

Wacker

Wacker

Silly name, serious space silicon. I didn’t realize that “space silicon” was a thing, but it is.

Website

Silicon for Space Use

Your Turn

Have you used any of these suppliers? Do you have any to add? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll update this post.

As 3D printers have gotten more affordable, an entirely new community has sprung up around the idea of designing, sharing and printing physical objects. Jarkko Moilanen of the Statistical Studies of Peer Production has completed the first EVER survey on the growing 3D printer community. Correction – the Journal of Peer Production is a separate group and not part of the Statistical Studies of Peer Production as stated in the video. 

I create the above video to share some of the interesting facts revealed in the survey. The survey data itself is freely available on their website.

If you consider yourself part of the 3D printer community or are curious to learn more, check out the short video.

Standing desks and Ninjas, what do they have in common?

What do Ninja’s and desks have in common? If you’re Dan McDonley…it’s the inspiration for an easy way to work and stay in shape. You see, when he was younger he got into Martial Arts. Really into Martial Arts and this left him with a few injuries and a bad back. He found that sitting [...]

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Customer experience will make or break your company

Are you creating an emotional experience for your customer? You should be. Customer experience is becoming crucial to building a successful business. Here’s the thing, complex ideas that are hard to describe NEVER create emotional experiences for your customer. EVER. Can you describe your idea in 30 seconds? How about in 2 words? Gabe Smedresman [...]

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Building Battle Bots and Rockets in New Jersey

Have you ever wanted to build your own battle robot or electronics but don’t have the tools? If so, you want to check out this interview with Rick Anderson one of the founders of FUBAR labs in New Jersey. New Jersey’s FIRST hackerspace. Rick’s main project right now is Fubarino…a ChipKit compatible pic32 board he’s going [...]

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Focus on the right type of customer

Is your business serving the right customer? Ever wondered what you can do with a laser cutter? I interview Jason Cross of FabLabATX and The Peculiar Form about how he built a laser cutting service out of his garage. A few of things we discuss: Why focusing on the right customer is crucial to building [...]

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Stop putting off your idea and just get started

There is no way to perfect your idea without actually launching it. Laura Bruland of Yes & Yes Designs learned this lesson when she started making laser cut jewelry at her local TechShop in San Francisco. She had seen laser cut jewelry before and wanted to create her own when she found out about TechShop. [...]

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How to turn your passion into a hardware business

Following your passion can be a great way to build a sustainable business. But how do you get started? I interview Brian Burling of eMotimo about how he used an engineering degree and a passion for photography into a unique product loved by professionals and consumers alike. What does eMotimo build? Motion control devices for [...]

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How to prototype a niche product on a budget

Prototyping your product used to take months (or years) and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Not anymore. Colour Cartel is perfecting a LED light panel for electric guitars which is loved by musicians (and pretty much anyone who sees it in action). Find out how they’ve rapidly built dozens of prototypes in a fraction [...]

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Why being open about your product will help your company

Would you tell people about your idea before you even had a working prototype? John Van Den Nieuwenhuizen (founder of Hidden Radio) did and received great PR because of it. While most entrepreneurs hide their ideas away where no one can see them, John took a different approach. Sharing his innovative idea for a mobile [...]

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