BH Dynamics' DynOSSAT-EDU Rockets Your CircuitPython Code Into a Nanosatellite Form Factor

$249 kit offers an on-board computer and electric power system, both programmable via CircuitPython, along with a SatComm board.

Spanish electronics specialist BH Dynamics has launched a kit designed to take your CircuitPython projects into space — well, nearly: the DynOSSAT-EDU educational nanosatellite.

"DynOSSAT-EDU is a CircuitPython compatible, open source nanosatellite development kit designed for makers, students, and amateurs," the company explains. "Our aim is to provide the DIY and educational communities with a complete and realistic PocketQube platform (just 5x5cm!) that includes all the necessary modules for the operation of a real nanosatellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that would serve as a device for teaching, training, or just driving curiosity about the philosophy and technology related to NewSpace."

"The system is composed of three different, stand-alone boards using Libre Space Foundation’s PQ60 form factor, but replacing the PQ60 connector for an easier to use 1.27 mm 40-pin header (that we called the PQBH40)."

The three boards are designed to each operate a separate satellite subsystem: One board acts as the on-board computer (OBC), with a built-in accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope, all linked to a Microchip SAM D51 microcontroller; another board acts as the electric power system (EPS), with battery management and power distribution plus a SAM D21 microcontroller for management tasks; the final board offers satellite communication (SatComm) capabilities, using a LoRa module and a PAN 2.4GHz model based on the Nordic nRF52832 system-on-chip.

While the DynOSSAT-EDU is built to mimic the functionality of a nanosatellite, it's primarily designed for experimentation and simulation rather than real space missions — though with the ever-dropping cost of launch missions, it's not impossible that one could end up hooked up to solar cells in space one day. The OBC and EPS boards are programmable with CircuitPython, BH Dynamics notes, though the SatComm board is not.

More details are available on the project's GitHub repository, where files are made available under the CERN Open Hardware License v2.1; full kits, including a padded case for storage, are selling on Tindie for $249.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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