- Press Release
- August 12, 2022
SpaceDev Begins Testing CHIPSat Flat Sat; CHIPSat to Be NASA’s First Microsatellite in University Explorer Series
SpaceDev, the world’s first publicly traded commercial space
exploration and development company, announced it has begun testing the
“Flat Sat” version of CHIPSat, NASA’s first University Explorer
SpaceDev, which specializes in sophisticated microsatellites,
designed and is building CHIPSat for Dr. Mark Hurwitz of the University of
California at Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory.
The Flat Sat testing is a comprehensive test of the many hardware and
software modules that make up the sophisticated but tiny earth-orbiting
CHIPSat is the first of NASA’s smallest and least
expensive missions, the University Explorers.
The completed satellite will
weigh approximately 150 pounds and is smaller than a typical coffee table.
way of contrast, the primary payload to be launched along with CHIPSat is
NASA’s ICESat, which weighs about 2,000 pounds and is the size of a typical
sport utility vehicle.
“We believe CHIPSat is a positive step for NASA in taking a proactive
approach towards adopting more efficient and less expensive methods to build
and launch small but high performance science satellites to acquire new human
knowledge,” stated Jim Benson, chairman and CEO of SpaceDev.
this is a great opportunity for SpaceDev to deliver on its promise to
introduce the microcomputer way of thinking to help revolutionize the space
SpaceDev’s approach to revolutionize the space industry is to introduce
hardware, software and interface standardization for a new generation of
smaller and affordable space products including complete turnkey missions.
Standardization results in reduced costs and increased reliability, and can
produce higher profit margins, which can’t be easily achieved if each
satellite is different.
Similar to microcomputers, SpaceDev is producing high
performance, small, reliable and low cost microsatellites through
standardization with volume production in mind.
SpaceDev believes it is
taking a major leap ahead of its competition in achieving these goals, and is
positioning itself to be a leading force in designing and building de facto
standard microsatellites at a time when the demand for microsatellites appears
to be growing exponentially.
In order to manufacture such a small satellite, SpaceDev designed and
built most of the subsystems such as the miniature flight computer and
miniature S-band transceiver and transponder.
CHIPSat is made up of twelve
small hardware modules about the size of a double deck of playing cards.
CHIPSat introduces SpaceDev’s modular, Internet-based Microsatellite Operating
System, which is SpaceDev’s de facto industry standard portable operating
system for the burgeoning new microsatellite industry.
SpaceDev intends to
bundle its satellite operating system, mission control software and flight
computer as a commercial, off-the-shelf product.
The SpaceDev Microsatellite
Operating System will be a separate product, and operates on a wide variety of
commonly available microprocessors.
“The key to a successful space system is accumulated hours and hours of
testing the full envelope of the software and hardware, and that is what we
are doing with CHIPSat and its new SpaceDev subsystems,” said Jeff Janicik,
SpaceDev’s Satellite Program Manager.
Mr. Janicik has assembled an energetic
CHIPSat team of determined engineers and technicians.
During Flat Sat testing, SpaceDev will be demonstrating its “test like you
This technique uses the actual flight hardware and software
in the testing process, so by the time the satellite is ready to be launched,
there will be full reliability in the hardware, software and training
associated with operations, which will be performed by SpaceDev.
After successful completion of Flat Sat testing, SpaceDev will begin final
assembly of CHIPSat in the new SpaceDev Clean Room before delivering CHIPSat
to UC Berkeley at the end of November.
CHIPSat will be launched in June of
2002 on a Boeing Delta II launch vehicle from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in
After the launch of CHIPSat, SpaceDev will perform mission
control and operations from its new Mission Control Center, which is being
outfitted at its headquarters in Poway, California, a suburb of San Diego.
Later in the year SpaceDev will begin offering a complete line of small,
affordable microsat hardware and software modules for use in sophisticated
microsatellites designed to be compatible with SpaceDev’s newly introduced
hardware and software standards.
Founded in 1997, SpaceDev is the world’s first commercial space
exploration and development company.
SpaceDev designs, assembles, tests and
markets affordable space systems including sophisticated microsatellites,
hybrid rocket-based orbital maneuvering and orbital transfer vehicles (MTVs),
and safe hybrid rocket motors for sub-orbital space tourism and rocket racing
SpaceDev is working with Sea Launch to explore offering
low-cost launches for secondary microsat payloads, and has been working with
the NRO and Air Force to develop restartable orbital maneuvering vehicles and
small, affordable kick motors for microsatellites.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements concerning the
company’s business and future prospects and other similar statements that do
not concern matters of historical fact.
Forward-looking statements relating
to product development, business prospects and development of a commercial
market for technological advances are based on the company’s current
The company’s current expectations are subject to all of the
uncertainties and risks customarily associated with new business ventures
including, but not limited to, market conditions, successful product
development and acceptance, competition and overall economic conditions, as
well as the risk of adverse regulatory actions.
The company’s actual results
may differ materially from current expectations.
Readers are cautioned not to
put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
The company disclaims any
intent or obligation to update publicly these forward-looking statements,
whether as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.
For further information, please contact:
Elyesse Concepcion of eConcep
Public Relations, +1-949-642-7700, for SpaceDev; or Investor Relations,