👀 Problem

SSI’s work on developing the Sapling bus is motivated by:

  1. A desire to democratize the space industry and make space hardware available to all.
  2. The novel launch opportunities that rideshare and decreasing launch pricing present for university students.
  3. The difficulty of securing orbital licensing, environmental test compatibility, and space environment readiness for spacecraft without flight heritage.

💭 Proposal

<aside> đź’ˇ Sapling is a Low Earth Orbit exploration mission.


Sapling seeks to explore the LEO environment and its own performance within that environment.  This is the Stanford student’s guide to putting all the subsystems you need–power, communications, ADCS–into a 1U CubeSat bus.

🚀 Plan

The mission goal of Sapling is to successfully downlink one image taken from LEO with the Google Coral payload camera. It is from this goal that all mission requirements stem. The minimum viable criteria for mission success is the receipt of one beacon from the spacecraft. These requirements enable SSI Satellites’ team goals to enable learning and development for the next generation of spacecraft engineers

Sapling is intended to be a low-cost, student-accessible bus, capable of hosting payloads for flight test and compatible with almost any modern launch vehicle. By sharing the Sapling bus, we hope to aid in the transition as space advancements become increasingly defined in software, rather than hardware. As the development of personal computing has demonstrated, open hardware architectures open the door for software innovation. By open source publication of our satellite systems architecture, we hope to accelerate the cycle of innovation for CubeSat developers worldwide.

This site defines the opportunity statement, key objectives, as well as mission and system level requirements for the Sapling 1U CubeSat bus.