[CubeSats Online Summer 2020] Making Prompt 2: Build a 1U FruitSat

For this short activity, we’d like you to build a 1U FruitSat to house a piece of fruit (or a veggie, or a cell phone, really any household object of your choosing!).

  1. Select a piece of fruit (or something else) as your payload.
  2. Using household materials, build a model 1U satellite to house (and protect!) your payload.
  3. Snap a photo of your creation. Then, reply to this thread with your image. Be sure to add some comments about your design process!

Some design questions to consider for your build:

  • How will you insert and remove your payload from the satellite?
  • How will you mount your satellite for launch?
  • What features will ensure your payload is protected during launch and while in orbit?

You’ll also find some examples from the PLIX team below. Feel free to get creative! :kiwi_fruit::strawberry::pineapple::banana::apple::pear:

This Making Prompt is part of the PLIX CubeSats Online :artificial_satellite: workshop series. You can find more information and links to sign-up in the linked thread below :arrow_down:

I used light weight food boxes. The brown padding inside is made of paper and the cloth-like material on top is very light. This provides good padding from shaking and also thermal protection. The lime sits in a plastic jello cup. Inside materials are hot glued except for the padding on top. This is put in after the lime is loaded in.

The door stays closed with a twist tie and there is a zip tie on top for attaching to the balloon.

I stayed with the conventional cube shape. But when disposing of my scrapes, I saw that cutting the corner off a box in an L, with more of the sides included, would make a good shape for a banana.


My payload is my iPod Touch and it is protected by wads of tissue paper. :joy: My solar panels will unfold once it is launched into orbit.


Here is my CubeSat, made of acoustic foam and duct tape straps. The payload is a 3D printed octopus, shown here in his press photo. To fit in the Sat he folds his tentacles over his head in a spherical configuration.


Hi, all!

Here’s my 1U AppleSat!

Payload: Granny Smith apple
Materials: milk carton; bamboo skewers; cardboard; recycled bubblewrap; tape


Tempted to do a drop test from my third-floor porch : )


Kiwi Cubesat!


OMG, I love all of your satellites. I made a LimeSat. (Why is there no lime emoji?)

It’s made with an egg carton, straws, and tape. It holds the lime surprisingly sturdy inside but… if a projectile hit it I’m not sure how well it would fare.


I love this! Looks nice and secure. At first I thought the padding was sliced bread.

It’s amazing what can be done with TP/paper towel cores:)

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I like the straws angled more coverage and lighter weight, plus alternating cool colors never hurt!

You should drop it to see what happens, looks great! If you don’t mind me asking how did you adhere the panels?

Nice design and insulation. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Hi, I’m Lori, administrative assistant at the Learning Initiative. I am pretty low on craft supplies during lockdown and following a move from Princeton, NJ last year; however, I repurposed a bamboo recycled bowl, some packing material from an Amazon delivery, and my payload is a plum!


Here’s my cubesat, not sure if it’s space-worthy but it was fun to make! The payload is a clementine that’s strapped in the back, then at the front I’ve attached a Bluebird from Teknikio.

Usually I use these for sewable circuit projects in my library, along with LEDs and vibrating motors. It works a lot like a microbit and can track temperature, acceleration, and light using bluetooth connections! I’d be interested to see how it works from a distance, and talk about how cubesat technologies are protected during the building process.


I used the lightest cardboard that I could find in my house (a low sugar protein bars box) for the construction of my cubesat. I upcycled bubble wrap and paper stuffing from a package that arrived yesterday to protect my apple payload.


At last week’s workshop, Katherine and Avery both mentioned an example of a CubeSat design that carried a payload of crayons or graphite to create a scribble patterned art work with the payload inside, reacting to the movements of the tethered balloon and CubeSat. This cool idea made me want to try it out for myself!
I used a 5" x 5" cardboard box with foam sheets on the inside to protect the payload.

I then tied three strings of friendship cord to pony beads on a dowel stick. The stick was attached to the inner top of the CubeSat with duct tape, and zip ties.
Two of the strings had crayons tied to them and the middle string had a ping pong ball wrapped in masking tape and double-sided scotch tape. Crushed crayon fragments were stuck to the sticky ping pong ball.
Finally, a sheet of paper covering two sides of the inner CubeSat was taped in place for the crayons and crayon-fragments to make their marks as the CubeSat moved.
After experimenting with a few different movements of the CubeSat, I decided to dump all of the crayon fragments I had left into the cube because the swinging sticky ping pong ball was not adding enough color to the paper inside.
After a few more shakes of the CubeSat I removed the crayon-marked paper inside to see what abstract patterns were created.
I think next time, I will use something heavier than a ping-pong ball so that the crayons and crayon fragments have more weight to make solid contact with the paper-covered walls inside.
The crayon marks on the paper inside were very light and difficult to see.

CubeSat movement over an extended period of time would definitely increase the number of crayon marks and art patterns on the paper.
Adding simple filters to the pictures of crayon-marked movements in the CubeSat make for interesting pieces: an inverted image, an x-ray image, and a skateboarding alien!


I love your ClementineSat! I didn’t know about Bluebirds; they look cool. Going to have to look into those more!

When assembled, lime (sorry, no fruit with me yesterday) will set comfortably in black plastic portion, which is the bottom of the cubesat, covered with the flat-topped upper portion, which should make attaching launching cables easier. This requires third piece, the launching assembly, to hold the pointy bottom part in place.


This is so awesome @Audrey_Snowden! How did you create the the launching assembly?

Thanks, Avery! I raided our recyclables and found book cover mylar spools (the plastic) and Ikea packing (the corrugated cardboard). The black plastic middle section has enough room for an actual piece of fruit and it projects up pretty far, so I thought a protruding “roof” would be good, but that doesn’t seem easy to launch, so the pointy part is actually the bottom, leaving a flat top which can be hole-punched for string attachments. Pointy part sits on (mostly empty) tape roll.