Financial Budget

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University of Leicester PLUME Ref: PLM-MAN-Budget-504-1

Date: 25/04/2007

Financial Budget

D.S.W. Gray; T.J.Trent; L.L. Evans; G.P.Cornhill; R.L.Wrigley; D.Brandt


Updated Reference Number




first version issued

This document contains the draft budget for the University of Leicester Space Research Centre CubeSat project. All subsystems are listed, their individual components costed and an overall estimated hardware cost is given in the executive summary at the end of the document.

The cost for the payload subsystem is going to be a nanometeoroid detector, possibly in combination with an optical camera and has not been considered in this document. A reasonable estimate for this subsystem will only be possible once more work has been done in this area.

1. Mechanical Bus and Thermal Control

It is possible to obtain a cubesat kit from Pumpkin Incorporated [1].

A complete CubeSat Kit contains:

● A complete CubeSat mechanical structure (Flight Model), consisting of a Chassis Wall

Assembly (in ½U, 1U, 1½U, 2U or 3U size), a Base Plate Assembly and a Cover Plate

Assembly. Each kit contains either solid-wall or skeletonized versions of these


● A CubeSat Kit Development Board for in-lab development, debugging and testing.

● A CubeSat Kit FM430 Flight Module for use in the CubeSat Kit Flight Model.

● An external universal +5Vdc switching power supply 3.

● An MSP430 Flash Emulation Tool and FM430 programming adapter.

● A USB cable.

● CubeSat Kit and Salvo RTOS software on CD-ROM 5.

● A Remove-Before-Flight Pin and lanyard.

● Miscellaneous fasteners / mounting hardware.

● A printed User Manual and other documentation.

Price based on cubesat kit- skeletonised, 1U will be $ 5000 (current conversion £2498)

According to [2] it is possible to use passive cooling to keep satellite within -40˚C to +85˚C range. Cubesat kit [3] specifies instrument rage is -40˚C to +85˚C except SD/MMC mass storage cards which are typically specified over -20˚C to + 65˚C.It is assumed that all required thermal control can be achieved through passive methods at negligible extra cost.

According to [2] radiation hardened electronics parts are difficult to find so code correction and outer protection were used as radiation protection.




CubeSat kit

Pumpkin Technologies


2. Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS)

The attitude determination system is going to use magnetoresistors in order to determine satellite attitude from earths magnetic field. The two viable solutions are a pre made board or to build our own. The pre build option is Honeywells HMR2300r [4], this is a 3 axis strap down magnetometer with a RS232 output. It has a operating temperature range -40 to 80°C and a field range of ±2 guass. The cost of the board alone is $997.60, approximately £520.

If the board is produced in-house, a set of suitable magnetoresistors have to be purchased. These would be Honeywells HMC1001 and HMC1002. These are 1 and 2 axis magnetoresistors working together to provide 3 axis determination. These achieve this by providing 3 output voltages which give the 3 components of the magnetic vector, which can then be used to derive the attitude. These 2 sensors have the same field range and operational temperature as the HMR2300r [5], but are significantly cheaper costing £10 and £15 respectfully[6]. On top of this a board would need to be built, at a cost of £20 for the board plus staff time for it to be qualified[7]. The other option would be to buy a pre made space qualified PCB at a cost of £200 - £300[8]

Additional costs assumed for the periphery electronics, including items such as amplifiers and the analogue digital converters have been estimated to be around £50.[7]

According to Tim Stevenson Attitude Control Magentorquers can be produced in house at negligible cost.




Attitude determination board,off-the-shelf



Attitude determination board,made in-house



Attitude Control Magnetorquers



3. On-board Data Handling/Power supply Unit (OBDH/PSU)

It is currently assumed that the computer delivered with the CubeSat kit will be sufficient for all OBDH purposes.

The power subsystem will consist of:

Solar Cells


Control Electronics

Clyde Space are producing a space qualified professional power control electronics system for Cubesats [9]:

    • 6 independent solar array Peak Power trackers, each capable of handling up to 2.5W of array power.

    • 5W regulated 5V bus.

    • 5W regulated 3.3V bus.

    • 1Ah, 8.4V lithium ion battery.

    • I2C data interface.

    • Compatibility with the Cubesat kit bus standard.

    • PC104 card size.

    • Full autonomous operation.

Mass~ 100g

Cost ~ £1200 [9]

Solar Arrays

The high efficiency GaAs arrays produced by EMCore and provided by Clyde Space are beyond our financial reach at ~£10k per 100mm x 100mm array[9].

An alternative could be off-the-shelf commercial solar cells, which would then need to be space qualified. Panasonic sunceram cells provide sufficient power at efficiencies of 12%-16%[10] and are cost effective at ~$100 per cube face.


Lithium Polymer

Specs according to [9] for 2 cells in series:

1.2 A/hour each

10 W hour

Includes: temperature sensor, current monitor, voltage monitor, under voltage/over voltage protection.

Mass- no more than 60g (Clyde Space still currently working on batteries)

2 Batteries can fit into a 1U Cubesat

Cost £400 (per battery) [9]




Solar Arrays



Li-polymer Battery

Clyde Space


Control Electronics

Clyde Space


4. Communication system (Comms)

The communications subsystem will have the task of communicating house keeping data and payload data with the groundstation.

On the satellite side it will consist of a modem, transceiver (TX) and antenna.

The CubeSat kit described in section 1. is compatible with a modem/transmitter system provided by Microhard Systems ( [3]. A quote has been obtained from Microhard for a 2.4GHz Transceiver development platform [11] containing:

2 MHX2400 wireless raio modems

2 MHX2400 development boards

2 MCX antenna cables

2 RS232 serial cables

2 2.4GHz antennas

For a total price of CAN$1.730 (~£ 850.00)





Microhard Systems



Microhard Systems

Included in above


Microhard Systems

Included in above

5. Launch cost

Customs, travel and transportation to the launch site are not included.

Current launch cost including launch insurance [12] $40,000

Exchange rates listed below,



Possible launch providers are Energia.

Dnepr R-36M (SS-18) converted ballistic missile. 500-600km circular sun synchronous orbit.

Sea-launch converted Zenit launcher or a Soyuz freget vehicle.

SpaceX. Falcon 1 developed launch vehicle.

6. Summary

The following table contains a summary of all the subsystem costs + 25% contingency. The biggest uncertainty at this moment seems to be in the cost of suitable solar cells if the Panasonic Sunceram do not qualify.












£20,000 (not included in contingency)

Contingency (25%)




We suggest an extra £1000 contingency due to the solar cell issues.

7. References

[1]Pumpkin price list

[2] Aalborg university cubsesat report –

[3]cubesat kit website

[4] data sheet hmr2300r

[5] pdf file Honeywell Sensor products

[6] price list

[7] personal communication, Daniel Brandt

[8] personal communication, Duncan Ross



[11] Quote obtained from Microhard systems, December 2006


Currency conversions:

References (25-04-07 13:55)

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