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Black Knight



USMA (U.S. Military Academy) West Point's Black Knight 1 (BK 1) is a three year, multi-discipline project, requiring cadets from West Point's Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Physics Departments to work together to develop, design, build, integrate, test, and launch the Academy's First Satellite.

Black Knight 1 is a single unit CubeSat (1U) based on Pumpkin Inc.'s cubesat kit. The mission was to demonstrate an experimental passive attitude control and dampening system. Secondarily, the satellite was to take digital pictures and transmit while in orbit. The results of this experiment were to give cadets operational knowledge and experience with satellite development and design.

Black Knight 1 was selected in 2010 under NASA’s ELaNa program. It was launched as part of the ORS-3 mission on an US Air Force Minotaur-1 flight in September 2013 to a 500 km altitude, 40.5° inclination orbit. The satellite was successfully deployed in orbit, but no signals were received. It reentered on 16 July 2015.

Alternate Names

  • 39398

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2013-11-20
Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 1
Launch Site: Wallops Island, United States
Mass: 1 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United States)


  • Technology Applications

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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