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From Science Fair to Space

Misson: The CapSat-1 is a technology demonstration mission purposed to validate  capacitor technology as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries in space  travel/flight. The CapSat-1 team consists of three 7th-grade students.

The CapSat-1’s proposal was submitted to NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) in November of 2018 on behalf of an extracurricular program known as The Wolverine CubeSat Development Team (WCDT). The CapSat-1 mission has consisted of two primary stages: the preliminary stage of its science fair project counterpart, and the eventual mission itself. The science fair project utilized a ratio of total discharge time and the unit volume/cost of each battery component to determine which battery is most efficient.


The CapSat-1 is a technological demonstration, selected on March 14th, 2019 through NASA’s tenth annual CSLI round [2]. It is designed to validate a capacitor-based electrical power system (EPS) in a 1U CubeSat. Currently, all CubeSats use lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) batteries as their primary source of power. Capacitors have been proven to be safer, more cost/volume-efficient, and more temperature-durable than LiPo batteries. This mission would validate their power/voltage efficiency and compare that to the status quo of the EPS in CubeSats today.

This CubeSat will launch as a 1U, and its launch date is expected within mid-to-late 2021. The CapSat1 was classified by NASA with a secondary mission of technological demonstration, and a primary mission of education – by giving younger engineers the opportunity for hands-on experiential learning with how to develop, build, test, and fly a satellite.

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SmallSat 2019 – University Poster Competition