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ISS Astronauts Fire-Up Awesome 'Cubesat Cannon'

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the pew-pew-pew dept.

ISS 52

astroengine writes "As if the International Space Station couldn't get any cooler, the Japanese segment of the orbiting outpost has launched a barrage of small satellites — known as "cubesats" — from their very own Cubesat Cannon! Of course, the real name of the cubesat deployment system isn't quite as dramatic, but the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) adds a certain sci-fi flair to space station science."

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Portal (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#45482737)

I just pictured a cannon firing weighted companion cubes. But their picture is cool too.

Re:Portal (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#45482761)

I just pictured a cannon firing weighted companion cubes. But their picture is cool too.

For all you gnow, there could be gnomish compagnions in these.

And the pictures are very, very cool, indeed.

Re:Portal (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#45482873)

Having just watched the episode of Doctor Who with my boys, I pictured a cannon firing those slow invasion cubes from The Power Of Three all over the world.

Re:Portal (4, Funny)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 10 months ago | (#45483741)

In space they're weightless companion cubes.

Re:Portal (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#45484077)

But there's no sense crying over every mistake.
You just keep on trying till you run out of dehydrated cake.
And the Science gets done.
And you make a neat space gun.
For the astronauts who are still alive.

Re:Portal (2)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about 10 months ago | (#45484395)

In space they're weightless companion cubes.

But no one can hear them scream.

Re:Portal (3, Funny)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 10 months ago | (#45485121)

In the unlikely event that you do hear one screaming, the Enrichment Center urges you to disregard its advice.

Re:Portal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484671)

Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!!!!

Re:Portal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484603)

Yeah... More space junk. Just what we need.

Space-borne Cannons (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#45482741)

I approve of this.

Next stop: Skynet!

Go Japan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45482763)

Activate interlocks! Dyna-therms connected. Infra-cells up; mega-thrusters are go! Go Cubesat Force!

Getting My Own Cubesat (4, Funny)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 10 months ago | (#45482767)

Do I have to show my tits to get them to fire a cubesat at me?

That would be way ugly.

Re:Getting My Own Cubesat (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45483115)

Not if they have a "tit for tat" policy. In that case, you'd only get tats for your tits, and you'd have to offer something else to exchange for a cubesat.

Re:Getting My Own Cubesat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483239)

But, but... my tits are *already* covered in tats!

Re:Getting My Own Cubesat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484627)

I guess you are out of luck toots...

Re:Getting My Own Cubesat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484919)

I think he meant tit-for-sat. It was merely a typo.

Re: Getting My Own Cubesat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483315)

Box for box?

Shall not be infinged... (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 10 months ago | (#45482823)

The Japanese module got a cannon before the US one?

Re:Shall not be infinged... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#45482929)

yeah because they thought to call it a deployment device.

you know, kinda like they don't have aircraft carriers, only ships that happen to carry a number of attack helicopters for their defense forces.

Re:Shall not be infinged... (2)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about a year ago | (#45487515)

Hey, the Russians beat them by about 40 years. [wikipedia.org]

rotation right from when shot? (2)

onepoint (301486) | about 10 months ago | (#45482923)

I just finished looking at the pictures, the 3 cube stats look to be already rotating, is that common??
I would have thought that they would just shoot right out without tumbling ??

Re:rotation right from when shot? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 10 months ago | (#45483379)

completely OK.

Re:rotation right from when shot? (4, Informative)

ThreeKelvin (2024342) | about 10 months ago | (#45483465)

Yep, perfectly normal. Most (if not all) cubesats tumble when they're jettisoned from their launcher.

For them not to tumble when they're jettisoned, they would have to have their center of mass perfectly on top of the spring and they'd need to have the exact same friction against the launcher on all four sides. It's much easier to just fit them with a de-tumbling system, e.g. a magnet on a spring.

Re:rotation right from when shot? (1)

onepoint (301486) | about 10 months ago | (#45483995)

Ah ok, that's starting to make sense. thanks

Cool Target Launcher! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45482959)

Now when do we get to see the laser cannons that shoot them out of the sky, or is that module top secret?

Jem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45482973)

That's truly outrageous!

Propellent Questions (3, Interesting)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 10 months ago | (#45483011)

They use springs. The J-SSOD click through in the article has a lot more information on the inner workings of the contraption. Its more like a nerf gun than a cannon. http://iss.jaxa.jp/en/kiboexp/jssod/ [iss.jaxa.jp]

Re:Propellent Questions (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 10 months ago | (#45483391)

Do you know what that antenna-looking thing on the back of the module is? Looks like a metal pole with three scimitar antennas around it, and some kind of marker nearby.

I saw one of those on a photo of the cupola exterior as well.

Re:Propellent Questions (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#45489673)

White A-frame with a silver tube on top? "Orbiter keel trunnion", and associated yoke, for attaching the modules to the payload bay of the Space Shuttle orbiter during launch.

Re:Propellent Questions (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#45490905)

I don't think that's it - have a look at this photo. [nasa.gov] You can see the same kind of assembly between the two cupola shields, should be obvious what I'm speaking of. Looks like a brass/gold trefoil with a rod sticking out of the center, with what looks like a black and yellow target nearby. Down and right from the visible crewmember.

Re:Propellent Questions (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#45491197)

Ah. Different bit. That an attachment point for the Canadarm's or Dextre's "latching end effector".

[I suspect the reason it's on the Cupola was to allow the Canadarm to grab and move the Cupola into position during initial installation, rather than to allow it or Dextre to attach there now.]

Re:Propellent Questions (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#45491305)

AKA FRGF "flight releasable grapple fixture", sayeth the wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Re:Propellent Questions (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#45492811)

Thank you!

Re:Propellent Questions (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about a year ago | (#45522801)

I think its a handle that attaches to the robot arm. Watch the video in the link its informative.

Re:Propellent Questions (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#45531363)

You're correct but you're [url=http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4471781&cid=45491305]three days late[/url] :)

Thanks though!

Re:Propellent Questions (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#45531377)

Sigh. I can never keep it straight which sites want bbcode and which want html.

Re:Propellent Questions (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about a year ago | (#45550173)

lol. I was just reading through the replies. I should have read them all before saying anything.

Couldn't get any cooler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483029)

It's a tree house for international test pilots to punch their state welfare benefit cards. So they have a slingshot. Big woop.

At last! (1)

goldaryn (834427) | about 10 months ago | (#45483069)

I, for one, welcome our new cuboid overlords and am jettisoning my tin foil head-wear as I speak

It wasn't always the J-SSOD (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 10 months ago | (#45483127)

The original title, Satellite Orbital Deployer / Object Flinging Foundry, was found to be too similar to mission commander S. Baldrick's first name and had to be changed at the last minute.

Sproinnng! (2)

trongey (21550) | about 10 months ago | (#45483143)

Oh bloody hell! They just fried my Awesomeness Gauge (tm)!

Won't they hit the ISS on a future orbit? (4, Insightful)

Goldenhawk (242867) | about 10 months ago | (#45483303)

Won't they circle back around and hit the ISS on a future orbit? I'm no rocket scientist, but I recall the idea that anything that departs from a given point in orbit will cross it again, and two objects leaving the same orbital point will both cross it again.

Maybe solar or atmospheric drag is enough to alter the cubesat orbits, and I know the ISS orbit is raised periodically, but since they were launched FROM the ISS by expelling them, instead of having a propulsive system, both the ISS and the cubesats left a single point in space and ought to converge there again.

I'd welcome an explantion from a real rocket scientist.

Re:Won't they hit the ISS on a future orbit? (3, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about 10 months ago | (#45483533)

Unlikely. The synodic period would be on the order of decades I believe, and it would only be the one intersection point - the other near-approach wouldn't intersect.

So, every synodic period they would have a close approach, and it would have to happen at just the wrong spot.

Re:Won't they hit the ISS on a future orbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45483591)

Bad memories of tetherball are coming back. :(

Re:Won't they hit the ISS on a future orbit? (5, Informative)

ClayJar (126217) | about 10 months ago | (#45483593)

They're launched from the nadir side in a nadir-aft 45-degree direction to prevent collision with the ISS. That imparts a small negative delta-V (with insertion velocity between 1.1 and 1.7 m/s), so their orbit would begin just slightly below the ISS. Additionally, one of the requirements for CubeSats launched from J-SSOD is that they have a ballistic coefficient of 120 kg/m^2 or less. This means that their orbits will decay faster than the ISS orbit, precluding any potential for collisions over time.

(The life expectancy on orbit of a CubeSat launched from J-SSOD is something like 100-150 days, depending on orbital parameters as of deployment, solar activity, etc.)

Lasers.... (2)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 10 months ago | (#45483371)

You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have satellites with frickin' laser beams attached to their casings!

I wonder just how many tiny laser wielding box satellites it would take to make one awesome weapon....

What happened to garnering public interest? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#45484063)

Calling it the J-SSOD when you could have called it the CubeSat Cannon...*facepalm*

Not only does that make it sound less exciting, but you gave up a chance to have it mistaken for a military project!

"Sir, we cannot defund the ISS or we will lose the CubeSat Cannon and the Chinese will be able to attack us with high-speed space woks at will! That's what they have right? I'm just assuming..."

Re:What happened to garnering public interest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45484281)

You'll like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almaz#Defense_measures [wikipedia.org]

Re:What happened to garnering public interest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45485569)

If you liked that, I would recommend this [wikipedia.org] and that [arstechnica.com] , also.

Re:What happened to garnering public interest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45486437)

Well, it DOES say it's Japanese. And they don't seem to care as much that it sounds like something military, even if it's not. But they could have called it the Godzilla launcher...

Targetlites, Alex. (1)

Dr.Altaica (200819) | about a year ago | (#45487011)

- Targetlites?

Yes. You might want to squeeze off
a few rounds while you have a chance
Just work the bugs out of the system.
After all, it is her maiden voyage.

Iron Sky (1)

Earache65 (681180) | about a year ago | (#45525485)

President of the United States: Okay who didn't arm their spaceship?
[Finland's representative slowly raises his hand]
President of the United States: Great, great. That's just great...
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