The small satellite Flying Laptop is the first satellite of the Small Satellites Program at the University of Stuttgart. This mission establishes the foundation for the required infrastructure as well as the expertise for the Small Satellites Program of the Institute of Space Systems (IRS), University of Stuttgart. The satellite was developed and built at the IRS and is now operated with the institute's own ground station. The design, development, construction and operation were/are primarily done by Ph.D. students and undergraduate students.
Flying Laptop has the dimensions of 60x70x85 cm³ and a mass of 120 kg. It is three-axis stabilized and orbits and surveys the earth in a low polar orbit of approximately 600 km. The objectives of Flying Laptop are the test and verification of new technologies, e.g. a reconfigurable FPGA onboard computer, a novel unfolding meachanism and a GPS experiment, as well as scientific earth surveillance.
The lifetime of the satellite is planned to be at least two years. At the end of the mission, a de-orbit mechanism is triggered that is supposed to re-enter the satellite and burn it up. The FLP thus takes into account a Code of Conduct for Space Debris Mitigation of European space travel, which was adopted to reduce or avoid space debris.
Current events in research
Tracking the Polarstern's AIS data
The distance traveled and the current position of the research ship Polarstern and the MOSAiC expedition according to the AIS data constantly received by the satellite: