Flying Laptop

Institute of Space Systems

The small satellite Flying Laptop is the first satellite of Stuttgart's small satellite program and is still fully operational in orbit

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 satellite was launched to space as a secondary payload. 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. Additionally, with the DLR's OSIRISv1 there is a payload for communication and navigation for an optical data link installed.

After more than three years in orbit, the satellite is still working well. With this accomplishment, the planned duration of two years is more than fulfilled. Flying Laptop is continuously doing earth observation and is integrated in lectures. Furthermore, the experiments with the optical downlink of DLR KN (Institute for Communication and Navigation) are ongoing.

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.

The small satellite Flying Laptop
The small satellite Flying Laptop
This image shows Sabine Klinkner

Sabine Klinkner

Prof. Dr.-Ing.

Professor of satellite technology

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