BisonSat is a 1U CubeSat designed and operated by the Salish Kootenai College in Montana. The educational satellite mission aims to operate a camera system to gather broad-band Earth imagery for the study of aerosols, cloud formation and hydrologic processes.
The satellite uses a bar magnet to remain aligned with Earth’s magnetic field, permitting the camera to point towards the ground where the magnetic field has a downward vertical component which will allow the satellite to collect imagery of the North American continent at off nadir-angles lower than 30 degrees.
The camera system has an 8.4-degree field of view and will cover a swath of 69 Kilometers at a ground resolution of 43 meters when at the perigee of the planned orbit. BisonSat’s camera features a 2048 by 1536-pixel CMOS detector with a Bayer filter for the generation of full-color imagery. Image data is written into an SRAM memory and later transferred to an SD-Card for downlink after onboard processing and compression.