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$1,553
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55
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 24 2019 6:18 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated August 24, 2019

Cambodia’s First CubeSat - Education Empowerment

Integrate space exploration into the Cambodian School System through launching a nano-satellite, Cubesat

Cambodia’s First CubeSat - Education Empowerment

Integrate space exploration into the Cambodian School System through launching a nano-satellite, Cubesat

$1,553
pledged of $70,000pledged of $70,000 goal
55
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 24 2019 6:18 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated August 24, 2019

About


TL;DR: We’re launching a satellite - Cambodia’s first! We want to inspire and educate our fellow Cambodians about space, and we need your help to make it happen.

Our Vision

To build capacity for space interests and create a path for future space missions in Cambodia.

Mission Statement

To build and launch a 1U CubeSat that will inspire secondary and undergrad students to learn more about space education by implementing their own mini-ground station to communicate with our CubeSat

Who are we?

We are LigerSat, a team of 5 high school students pioneering the way for space projects in Cambodia. We’re starting small - a 1U CubeSat (more on this soon!) that will capture images of Earth - but it has the potential to inspire a nation. Through our education project, youth all across Cambodia will learn about space, and download pictures from an object that students just like them had designed and put up there. We hope that this project will motivate our generation to innovate and pursue higher education, in both aerospace technology and beyond. Not too far from now, the first Cambodian astronaut could be sitting in a classroom tracking our satellite. All it takes is that spark.

What’s a CubeSat?

CubeSats are a standardized nanosatellite that has performed several functions: space and communications research, technological demonstrations, educational projects, and commercial projects. The standard measurement of a CubeSat is in “Units” or “U’s”; for example, a 1U CubeSat refers to a 10x10x10 cm cube that weighs about 1.3 Kg. These cubes can be stacked together to form 2U or 3U CubeSats. The main components in a  CubeSat are the antenna, structure, solar panels, power supply, transceiver, control computer, and payloads. Once the CubeSat is launched into space, it will orbit the Earth in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which has an altitude between 160 - 2000 Km. 


1U CubeSat specifications
1U CubeSat specifications

CubeSats provide students worldwide the opportunity to create a satellite with minimal labor and technical knowledge. Consequently, a fully functional CubeSat could be completed and ready to launch into orbit within two years. Additionally, the cost of a CubeSat is much lower than industrial satellites (that cost millions of dollars), which makes fundraising for this project much more achievable. When a CubeSat is in orbit, its life cycle will terminate upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere leaving no space debris; with this absence, the spatial integrity of Low Earth Orbit will be restored for future CubeSat deployments.

More on our mission.

The role of our CubeSat is to take pictures of the Earth and transmit those pictures back to the ground. The camera that we will use is ArduCam which is somewhat limited in image quality compared to other satellites. This is like a picture from an iPhone on a very high mountain (with a height of about 400 Km) and all you might see is just continents and oceans. Once it takes the images, the CubeSat will send back to Earth.

              ArduCAM                   Sample Earth Image [Cal Poly]
ArduCAM Sample Earth Image [Cal Poly]


While neighboring nations (such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos) already have satellites operating in LEO, Cambodia currently lacks an industry in space engineering. Therefore, designing and building a CubeSat here in Cambodia would be a significant technological achievement and a strategic political move for our country. Our government does have tentative and long-term plans to deploy its own satellite to improve the nation’s security and communication systems (as mentioned in a 2011 article by the Phnom Penh Post). The 250-400 million dollar communications satellite was intended to be launched by 2021, but according to a February 2019 article, the project is “still under study.”

The Education Project

Our mission is to develop future engineers and create positive impacts on students, schools, communities, and Cambodia’s reputation while introducing new technology. In Cambodia “only 3 percent of students choose to study the so-called STEM subjects at university" [VOA, Reaksmey 2016]. The Minister of Education aims to incorporate more STEM-based learning.as the nation moves forward into a technological future, and we believe our project will greatly contribute towards that goal. The kits we will introduce into government schools will provide a platform for collaborating to implement STEM curricula in these schools:

LigerSat Team member Vuthy showing local students how to download satellite images!
LigerSat Team member Vuthy showing local students how to download satellite images!

We plan to have 10 radio kits available for students to borrow while our satellite is in orbit, rotating them to reach at least 50 secondary schools and universities throughout Cambodia. Through workshops at each of these schools, we will teach students about space, and show them how to use the kits to download pictures from our satellite! 

In those kits, there will be an antenna, an Software Defined Radio, a computer, necessary software, and a module. Through basic parts such as PVC pipes and tape measures, students will also be able to build their own more powerful antennas. These will vastly improve communication with our satellite, and solidify students’ understanding of physics and math in the process.

Kit antennas can be made from simple parts like PVC and  tape measure! 

DIY Yagi Antenna [Instructables.com]
DIY Yagi Antenna [Instructables.com]

Secondary school, in particular, is a stage where students discover their passion for university and career. We will place our focus here, and cover as many schools in a remote region or outside of cities as possible, so that they have similar opportunities to schools in the cities. We also aim to have equal numbers of female students and woman mentors participate in using the kits, to ensure that this push towards STEM is not filtered by traditional gender stereotypes.By providing teaching methods for mentors to work with schools, and providing full access to the images we obtain, we hope to start a wave of “space fever” across Cambodia. 

This mission will motivate students all around the country to learn about space technologies. By establishing this project, we will also help the reputation of Cambodia, a country that has never launched its own satellite, by launching its first high school nanosatellite in the year 2020. Moreover, our satellite project will prepare Cambodian ministries for future satellite missions. Our CubeSat developers and the students using our kits will be taking a journey to satisfy their dreams and become the next generation of astronauts and aerospace engineers. 

About us

Our School 

Liger Leadership Academy, Phnom Penh
Liger Leadership Academy, Phnom Penh

We are a group of students from the Liger Leadership Academy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The academy consists of 110 students, 50 for senior cohort (age from 15 to 18) and 60 junior cohorts (age from 12 to 14). This is a project-based-learning academy where students learn different hard and soft skills (such as leadership, collaboration, innovation, technical skills) from involving in projects. Visit the school’s website: http://www.ligeracademy.org/.

LigerSat

The Liger CubeSat is a group of senior students from the Liger Leadership Academy who are devoted to developing the first Cambodia satellite. Our CubeSat developers are high school students who collectively offer diverse experiences: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, 3D designs, programming, app development, environmental awareness, and more. These students have worked on several high-impact engineering and technology projects: they have constructed 15 Kg robots that competed with other Asian countries in a competition called VEX robotics; developed a digital currency, called Pedro, that is used at our Academy; and implemented a computer lab in a rural government school that runs on solar energy. The Liger CubeSat team has five members: Rithy Hong, Sreyneang Oun, Seyha Khom, Visal Saosuo, and Vuthy Vey. Every single person on this team is extremely passionate about this project and is prepared and excited to turn this project into reality. Visit us to learn more at http://ligerCubeSat.org.  

Our mentors

This project additionally has six mentors who have experience in spacecraft communication, CubeSat development, satellite developments, fundraising, chemical engineering, and biology. 

 Liger Mentor's profile

Timeline & Progress thus far

This project started in October 2018. We spend eight to ten hours per week individually. Even though we are novices in this field, we will attempt to launch within 2 years with the support of our mentors and Liger facilitators.

LigerSat Gantt Chart
LigerSat Gantt Chart

There are three main phases in our timeline: 

  1. January - July 2019: Preparation. We expect to have all of the funding, ground station, and CubeSat engineering model components ready. 
  2. August - December 2019: Build & Test. We also plan to look for the launch vehicle, train the next cohort to take over the project, and create the kits for secondary school and university students. 
  3. January - July 2020: Completion by graduation. During this stage, we plan to complete the flight model and deliver it to the launch vehicle.

The launch date is not set as we are still looking for a launch provider. We are applying for the KiboCUBE competition (launch in 2021), and looking for potential sponsors. In the event that we are unsuccessful in obtaining a free launch, we have also developed further fundraising plans, and would aim to secure a spot in a launch vehicle for the end of 2020.

Financial Plan

Finance is one of the major possible causes that can delay this project. The total cost is 100,000 USD. Our school cannot support this cost, therefore, we must fundraise. To break down the cost, we see that the actual cost for the CubeSat is 42,000 USD (which is 42 % of the total cost); the ground station is 2,527 USD; assembly, integration, and verification is 18,500 USD; and launch at JAXA is roughly 30,000 USD.

Our Budget
Our Budget

There are a few ways we can reduce the total cost of this project: the most promising is by winning the KiboCUBE competition. KibuCube is a yearly competition run by UNOOSA collaborate with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to give the opportunity to many developing countries that have never launched a CubeSat into space. The prize in this competition is to have a free launch into space. We will submit our application for the fifth round of KiboCUBE on 30 September 2019. If we win this competition, our total cost will be reduced to 70,000 USD (taking out the launch cost) and the launch date will delay to 2021. 

Our fundraising team has tried to spread the word for this project to more people in Cambodia using Facebook, our website, and presentations to others. We believe that there are people out there who are willing to support our project. To do that we need to do some public outreach. We would sincerely appreciate it if you helped share our story!

Conclusion

If you’ve read this far, thank you. And feel free to reach out to us with any questions at cubesat@ligercambodia.org We are so proud to build the first satellite for Cambodia, and pave the way for future contributions to space exploration. This is by far the largest and most challenging undertaking that any one of us has faced. We bravely embark on this journey, but we cannot do it alone. Your participation in this project will not only make our spacecraft a reality, but spark dreams in thousands of students in Cambodia and beyond.

Risks and challenges

We are so proud to build the first satellite for Cambodia because Cambodia so far has has made so little contribution in space exploration. A group of five high school students from the Liger Leadership Academy bravely started the journey of becoming the pioneers to build Cambodian first satellite. Furthermore, we are under the pressure of time to launch the CubeSat due to our graduation in 2020. Another challenge is introducing satellite projects to the government; this means government procedures and paperwork will be required from us, which takes more time. The third challenge is finance; this project requires up to 100,000 USD, and this is challenging to raise. With all of these challenges, a major risk is that we will end up passing this project to our next cohorts.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Environmental commitments

Visit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.

Long-lasting design

We want our CubeSat to remain in orbit for over a year, so that rural schools throughout Cambodia can get a chance to communicate with our country’s first satellite! As such, our CubeSat will be made of durable components and the assembly will be thoroughly tested to ensure survival in the harsh outer space conditions. Our satellite will also not contribute to the orbital debris problem. It is designed to deorbit on its own due to atmospheric drag, and the materials are selected so that all components will safely burn up upon re-entry.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

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    Change Agents Supporter

    Thank you for the support! You helped make this project possible, and will receive all of our Kickstarter updates!

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    Your name in Space!

    Your name will be stored in our CubeSat’s memory, and taken up into orbit!
    You will be also included in our kickstarter project updates!

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    Boarding pass to Low Earth Orbit!

    A digital certificate of your participation in Cambodia’s first Space Program!

    Includes:
    • Your name in our CubeSat's memory
    • Project Updates
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    LigerSat Wallpaper

    Receive a commemorative desktop wallpaper of LigerSat’s first mission!

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    • Your name in our CubeSat's memory
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    Your message in Space!

    Store a personalized [250 characters max] message into our CubeSat’s memory

    Includes:
    • LigerSat Desktop Wallpaper
    • Boarding Pass
    • Your name in our CubeSat's memory
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    Your Photos in Space!

    We will send your personal memories up to space [up to 10mb of photos or voice recordings] in our CubeSat’s digital storage

    Includes:
    • LigerSat Desktop Wallpaper
    • Boarding Pass
    • Your name in our CubeSat's memory
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    LigerSat Official Song!

    Get an mp3 copy of LigerSat's official song for our mission!

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    • Project Updates
    • Boarding Pass
    • LigerSat Desktop Wallpaper
    • Your name in our CubeSat's memory
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    Personalized Thank You Video

    Our LigerSat team will personally thank you for your generous donation to our project!

    Includes:
    • LigerSat Desktop Wallpaper
    • Boarding Pass
    • Your name in our CubeSat's memory
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    Gold Sponsor - 3D Printed CubeSat!

    Get the first Cambodian 3D-printed CubeSat! Your name or company logo will also be added to our website!

    Includes:
    • Thank You Video
    • LigerSat Desktop Wallpaper
    • Boarding Pass
    • Your name in our CubeSat's memory
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    Platinum Sponsor - Track our Satellite!

    Will will send you a USB receiver and antenna, and share video lessons and guides on how to track and download images from our satellite!

    Your name or company logo will also be included on all satellite photos shared by LigerSAT!

    Includes:
    • Thank You Video
    • LigerSat Desktop Wallpaper
    • Boarding Pass
    • Your name in our CubeSat's memory
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    Your name ON our CubeSat

    Have your name engraved on the outside of our satellite!

    Includes:
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    • Thank You Video
    • LigerSat Desktop Wallpaper
    • Boarding Pass
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    Your Logo ON our CubeSat

    Have your company logo engraved on the outside of our CubeSat!

    Includes:
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    • Thank You Video
    • LigerSat Desktop Wallpaper
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Funding period

- (60 days)