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Satnews Daily
July 3rd, 2016

Perfect Precision For MinXSS CubeSat Supplied By Blue Canyon Technologies—It's All About Attitude

In its first flight, the XACT attitude control system from Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) is providing high-performance guidance, navigation, and control to the orbiting Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) smallsat.

Blue Canyon's XACT Attitude Determination Control System.

A 3U CubeSat funded by NASA and led by the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, MinXSS requires precision pointing to carry out its scientific objectives.  Integrating an array of high-performance miniaturized space sensors and actuators, including BCT’s Nano Star Tracker and Micro Reaction Wheels, the XACT unit provides state-of-the-art attitude control for small spacecraft like MinXSS.  On-orbit telemetry from the XACT unit and independent spacecraft instrumentation indicates 1-sigma cross-axis pointing error better than 8 arcseconds, which is less than the width of the Empire State Building as viewed from Los Angeles.

The launch of the MinXSS CubeSat from the ISS.

Photo is courtesy of NASA.

MinXSS was deployed from the International Space Station on May 16th and is designed to collect soft X-ray emissions from the sun that will help scientists better understand space weather in which solar storms impact our space-based technology such as communication and navigation systems.

The mission exemplifies the increasing capability of low-cost CubeSat missions, which have proliferated as enabling technology has developed.


In the coming years, BCT’s XACT attitude control system and XB-1 spacecraft bus are slated for dozens of flights in support of a wide array of scientific, commercial, and defense missions.


Dates Set For The SmallSat Symposium—2017

Prepare To Be Wow'd

To assist in acquiring the knowledge and expertise to enter and/or continue the acquisition of technology and product to become a successful smallsat actor, Satnews Publishers is delighted to announce that the SmallSat Symposium workshops will be held on February 6, 2017, and the conference will be conducted from February 7 to February 8, 2017, at the Computer History Museum, which is located at 1401 North Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View, California.

A veritable "Who's Who" of subject-matter experts have already committed to presentations during this impact-filled symposium:

  • Chad Anderson, Managing Director Space Angels Network
  • Jason Andrews, CEO Spaceflight Industries David A. Anhalt, Vice President and General Manager Iridium PRIME
  • Chris Baugh, President NSR - Northern Sky Research
  • Peter Beck, CEO & CTO Rocket Lab
  • Dr. Sami BenAmor, Director of Marketing Thales Alenia Space
  • John Booher, Partner Hogan Lovells
  • Dr. Sean Casey, Managing Director Silicon Valley Space Center
  • Carissa Christensen, Managing Partner The Tauri Group
  • Craig Clark, Founder Clyde Space Ltd.
  • Mike Collett, Founder and Managing Partner Promus Ventures
  • James Crawford, Founder and CEO Orbital Insight
  • Randy Culver, CEO AMERGINT Technologies
  • Stuart Daughtridge, Senior VP Advanced Technology Kratos
  • Dr. Lars Dyrud, CEO OmniEarth
  • Dr. Shahin Farshchi, Partner Lux Capital
  • Dr. Jenny Gautier, Director of Commercial Programs The Aerospace Corporation
  • Dr. Steve Goldberg, CEO & Co-Founder Venrock
  • David Hartshorn, Secretary General GVF - Global VSAT Forum
  • Susan J. Irwin, President Irwin Communications, Inc.
  • John P. Janka, Partner Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Adam Keith, Managing Director Euroconsult Canada
  • Debra Facktor Lepore, VP and GM of Strategic Operations Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp
  • Tony Lin, Counsel, Washington, DC Hogan Lovells
  • Dr. Clare Martin, Vice President of Programs Surrey Satellite Technology US
  • Clayton Mowry, President Arianespace
  • Carlos Niederstrasser, Business Development & Special Initiatives Orbital ATK
  • Sunil Nagaraj, Vice President of Marketing and Communications Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Dara A. Panahy, Partner Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
  • Will Pomerantz, Vice President for Special Projects Virgin Galactic
  • Dr. Alex Saltman, Senior Vice President GeoOptics Inc.
  • Randy S. Segal, Partner, Co-Lead Satellite Practice Hogan Lovells
  • David Strobel, CEO and Program Manager (PM) Space Micro
  • Chris Stott, Chairman & CEO (PM) ManSat
  • Tom Stroup, President SIA - Satellite Industry Association
  • Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, Founder and Executive Chairman Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
  • Stig-Are Thrana, U.S. Sales Director and Head of Kongsberg Silicon Valley Office Kongsberg Satellite Services
  • Dr. Joe Thurgood, Vice President Corporate Development and Marketing Hera Systems
  • Dr. Marco Villa, President & COO Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems
  • Tony Wilkey, Senior Vice President AvL Technologies
  • Bruce Yost, Project Manager NASA Ames Research Center
  • Louis Zacharilla, Director of Development Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI)


Bonus—the first 100 registrants will qualify for a $200 discount on the standard event admission... take advantage of this offer... don't dawdle... and register now at this direct link.