KitCube is MIT STARLab’s entry in the NASA CubeQuest Centennial Challenge’s Lunar Derby Challenge.
kitcubelogov2-300x291 KitCube For the most up to date information, please visit the official KitCube webpage.

Mission Overview

KitCube is a 6U CubeSat designed by MIT 16.83 undergraduate and 16.89 graduate students to win a 2018 Space Launch System (SLS EM1) opportunity to be deployed on a trajectory heading toward the Moon and to win the Lunar Derby Challenge for successful lunar orbit insertion, and high data rate burst transmission and max data throughput from lunar orbit. Over 40 students have been involved in the design to date, preparing for the first of four Ground Tournaments in August 2015. (Update: KitCube was selected in Ground Tournament 1!)

Spacecraft Overview

Size: 6U, 239 mm x 366 mm x 116 mmPower: 25 W orbit-avg. gen, 3x30 W-hr LiPo batteries
Wet Mass: 12.29 kg incl. 3 kg prop (~500 m/s delta-V)Comms: L-3 Cadet UHF/S, Laser DL TX at 1550 nm
Ground Stations: NASA Wallops UHF/S and OCTLADCS: BCT XACT, 2 x star trackers, 6 x sun sensors
Propulsion: 4 x 0.5 N Busek green monoprop thrustersAvionics: Pumpkin PIC24 MB + PPM, custom boards

kitcube-e1440806710664-300x235 KitCube




See an animation of the assembly of KitCube’s key components: KitCube Exploded Animation



Concept of Operations

Mission PhaseActionsBeginning of PhaseEnd of Phase
1.1 Pre-launch
1.2 Launch
Powered OffDeliver for EM-1 integration
Launch: T+0
Launch: T+0
Separation from EM-1
2. DeploymentDetumble, deploy arrays, system health checkoutSeparation from EM-1End of system checkout [~12 hrs]
3. Lunar TransferTimed Prop BurnsEnd of system checkoutDesired stable lunar orbit
4. Nominal OpsTX Competition DataDesired stable lunar orbitEM-1 deployment + 365 days
5. DecommissionProp burns, if necessaryEnd of CubeQuest challengeKitCube disposal
16.83/89 Team:

DSC_0221-e1440807634811-300x125 KitCube


A baby beaver is called a “Kit”.