The University of Southampton Small Satellite is formed of many smaller elements, or subsystems, that cannot achieve everything we want the satellite to do by themselves. These subsystems range from an on-board computer, which monitors the health of the satellite and executes the actions we schedule for the satellite, to solar panels and batteries that provide electrical power, and to a radio link that we can use to receive data from, and send commands to, the satellite. In fact, a ground radio station and a website are also needed to achieve the mission objectives of UoS3.
However, we tend to focus a lot on the parts that will form the actual spacecraft because everything else can be changed or fixed even after the satellite is launched. And when we ship UoS3 off to the launch site we will never see it again, perhaps only on photographs. The design of this “space segment” is not trivial, but we have a highly-skilled team of Engineers working on the project. You can click here to find out more about UoS3's subsystems.
The UoS3 system. Passive subsystems have been omitted for clarity.
The UoS3 project is undertaken with the support of the Education Office of the European Space Agency, under the educational Fly your Satellite! Programme; an ESA educational programme complementing academic education.