The Joint Global Multi-Nation BIRDS Project also known as “BIRDS Project” is a cross-border interdisciplinary CubeSat constellation project hosted at Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan.
The Mission Statement of the Project is:
“By successfully building and operating first satellite of nation, advance toward indigenous space program in each country”
The key objectives are to:
- Learn the entire process of satellite development from mission planning to satellite disposal
- Lay down the foundation of sustainable space program by accumulating human resource and launching a university space research and education program
- Create an international human network to assist the infant space programs among each other
The project is implemented by students enrolled as either Masters/Doctors student in the Space Engineering International Course (SEIC) and it spans over a period of 2 years so that each member of the project experiences every aspect of a satellite project. The BIRDS projects experiments the lean approach of satellite development.
The first BIRDS Project, BIRDS-1, started in October, 2015. The participating countries were Japan, Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria and Bangladesh. 15 students have successfully designed, developed, tested and launched 5 1U CubeSats. All the 5 CubeSats bear identical designs and mission payload. The CubeSats were released from the International Space Station on 7th July, 2017. The CubeSats were operated through the Ground Station Network (GSN) consisting of 7 ground stations in 7 different countries. It was first satellite for Ghana, Mongolia and Bangladesh. Read more here.
The second BIRDS Project, BIRDS-2, started in November, 2016. The participating countries are Bhutan, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan. 11 students will develop 3 identical 1U CubeSats which will have capability to perform same missions. The bus system for BIRDS-2 takes heritage from BIRDS-1 bus system and incorporates the lessons learned from BIRDS-1.
The BIRDS-2 CubeSats will be operated throught he GSN of BIRDS Program which now consisted of 10 ground station with combined member countries of BIRDS-1 and BIRDS-2 project.