Phase 1: Mission design resources


Phase 1 began with an introduction to CTE Mission: CubeSat, including the background and timeline of the challenge, and the goal of mission design. The virtual information session can help your team understand what to expect in Phase 1 of CTE Mission: CubeSat.

School and team

Explore the diversity of space-related careers and consider how designing and building CubeSat prototypes can help build skills related to those careers for you and your team. The suggested materials can help your team:

  • Explore the connection to space careers and technical education.
  • Define team roles and responsibilities.
  • Set up a project plan for mission design.

Mission objectives

Learn what real-world CubeSat missions do — from gathering atmospheric data using a tethered balloon to tracking wild animal herds on a high-altitude glider — and determine a feasible experiment and flight method for your CubeSat prototype mission. The suggested materials can help your team:

  • Learn about CubeSats and CubeSat prototypes.
  • Define a research objective for the mission.
  • Define a flight method for the mission.


Delve into the different subsystems of a CubeSat prototype — from hardware and software to communications and ground systems — and consider how a mission proposal can incorporate and describe these subsystems. The suggested materials can help your team:

  • Understand the different subsystems of a CubeSat prototype, such as mechanical, ground systems, power and electrical, software, payload sensors, and communication.
  • Design the subsystems for the mission.
  • Plan the equipment list and estimate costs associated with the subsystems.

Mission planning

Focus on high-level planning of a project, budget, and potential community engagement to build and launch a mission during Phase 2. The suggested materials can help your team:

  • Prepare a project plan for the mission proposal.
  • Prepare a preliminary budget for the mission proposal.
  • Brainstorm the best ways to engage the community in the mission.


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