MOVE-II(b) - Student Technology in Space

MOVE-II is a small satellite which was launched into space in December 2018. MOVE-II is a CubeSat, a tiny satellite with dimensions of 10 x 10 x 13 cm and a mass of 1.2 kg. It is the second satellite of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the follow-up project of First-MOVE. The name MOVE is an acronym and stands for Munich Orbital Verification Experiment. The number “II” implies that it is the second of its series.

More information and the history can be found on this website:

The Satellite

The CubeSat is developed in cooperation between the Chair of Astronautics (LRT) and the Scientific Workgroup for Rocketry and Space Flight (WARR). About 60 Bachelor and Master Students from various faculties, backed by two PhD students, are currently working on the satellite, mostly in their free time.

MOVE-II is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), following a decision of the German Bundestag, via the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with funding grant number 50 RM 1509. The idea of this educational project is to give students the opportunity to complement their theoretical education within lectures by the experience of working on a real satellite. We hope that with MOVE-II a next generation of experienced space engineers is risen. Our CubeSat was launched by a Falcon-9 rocket in December 2018 into a 575 km, sun-synchronous low earth orbit.

MOVE-IIb is a nearly exact copy of MOVE-II which was launched in July 2019 with a Soyus rocket.


MOVE-II (Munich Orbital Verification Experiment) is the second satellite of the Technical University of Munich’s educational CubeSat program. On December 3, 2018, the satellite was launched on the SSO-A SmallSat Express from the Vandenberg Air Force Base. The following paper shows on-orbit results of the first eight months of operations. It includes analyses based on our own data as well as the open-source ground station network SatNOGS. Lessons learned from mission operations and recommendations for future educational missions are provided. The technical goals of the mission are verifying the satellite’s bus and the qualification of a novel type of quadro-junction solar cells. Over 200 students have been developing and testing all components of the satellite since the beginning of the project in April 2015. During the course of the project, the students designed all necessary technology for a CubeSat bus, with the exception of the electrical power system and the on-board computer’s hardware. Furthermore, the students developed ground station software as well as an operations interface from scratch. The technological achievements of the mission range from a linux-based onboard computer software over a magnetorquer-based attitude determination and control system to two novel transceivers for UHF/VHF and S-Band. A reusable mechanism, based on shape-memory-alloys, deployed the four solar panels, providing the necessary power. Only hours after the deployment, we received the first signals of the satellite. The commissioning of the ground station and the effects of an insufficient power budget of the tumbling satellite preoccupied us during the first month, as well as frequent watchdog resets. During the commissioning of the Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS), a spin rate of 200 °/s was observed, although the actuators were not activated yet. Detailed analysis with the help of recordings provided by our own ground station as well as the SatNOGS ground station network revealed a slow increase of the spin rate since the launch. In the following weeks the spin rate further increased to over 500 °/s. Afterwards we were able to modify our ADCS actuation in a way to reduce the spin rate again. Currently MOVE-II is detumbled and we are moving towards regular scientific operation.

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