Who We’re Taking to Space: KNACKSAT

The first entirely Thai-built satellite, KNACKSAT is going to be aboard Spaceflight’s SSO-A mission in 2018


KNACKSAT is going to space! KNACKSAT, an acronym for KMUTNB Academic Challenge of Knowledge SATellite, is a 1U-CubeSat satellite (roughly 10 x 10 x 10 cm, 1.3 kg) developed by King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), Thailand. The satellite uses amateur radio frequencies for the communication between the satellite station and the ground station. It’s the first satellite entirely built in Thailand, entirely by a university team.

Part of the KNACKSAT team.

“We are very excited about this KNACKSAT project because it is our first time to design and build a real satellite. KNACKSAT will be the first satellite that is fully developed in Thailand and by Thai people,” says Dr. Suwat Kuntanapreeda, professor at KMUTNB. “Our students, the most important part of our team, have been learning so many things that they have never learn from textbooks. I would like to emphasize that this project is not only design and build a satellite, but also, more importantly, build a Thai team who know how to design and build satellites.”

The main missions of KNACKSAT include (1) developing a communication system using amateur radio frequencies, (2) taking images from space, (3) testing 3-axis attitude control algorithms by using magnetic torquers, (4) verifying a deorbit technology by a magnetic torque and (5) confirming the uses of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components in space.

But the larger objectives of the KNACKSAT project might be even more important: the educational and technology demonstration objectives. The educational objectives is to enhance the knowledge and experience of the students in satellite design and construction. These can be considered as fundamentals for development of larger satellites in Thailand in the near future. On a national level, the project inspires and promotes interest in science and technology for young Thais.

Dr. Kuntanapreeda is optimistic about the impact of the KNACKSAT project. “We believe that this project will be a leading force to a larger satellite project in the near future. I also would like to say that we are very glad to have the opportunity to work with Spaceflight and thank Spaceflight for this opportunity and to be a part of our unforgettable history. We would also like to acknowledge the financial support from Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research and Development Fund for the Public Interest, Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), Thailand.”

More proud KNACKSAT team members.

The satellite will be on-board Spaceflight’s dedicated rideshare mission “SSO-A” aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2018.

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