2015.P.1.1. CubeSat-based SAR (Search and Rescue) mission


Javier Maurino-Alperovich (1)

  1. Imperial College London, United Kingdom




L1, space weather, IOD, science


Imaging technology in CubeSats has experienced a very fast development in the last 15 years. Today, resolutions of up to 1.5 meters per pixel (at ~100km) and high accuracy attitude control systems open up the possibility of using these systems for new applications with a very low cost.

Imperial College London is undertaking a student-led project to develop such technologies to assist in search and rescue operations. The satellite will build upon NOAA’s SARSAT program, which detects and locates emergency beacons, by providing visual information of the problem at hand to the respective rescue teams. This information, presented as images, could prove to be invaluable to react faster and more effectively to such events.

Should an emergency beacon emit a distress signal, the 3U CubeSat (4kg, 10x10x30cm), which is expected to be launched by 2018, will be capable of locating its position and transmitting an image of the problem to ground control. Acting as a technical demonstration, the spacecraft will primarily show how an individual satellite from a constellation orbiting at 200km would respond and operate synchronously with its peers.


  • Download slides in PDF format here (9MB)

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