Introduction: Building a Cube Sat Using an Arduino and a Dht-11 Humidity and Temperature Sensor

Tiny satellites as small as 4x4 centimeters traveling through space? This isn't science fiction it's reality. Cube Sats are low cost miniature satellites that are launched into space. Cube sats can be used to collect data and carry cargo. In this project We will be making one out of cardboard that is able to collect humidity and temperature data.

I worked on this project with a group for my Physics class. To prepare for the project we first learned the basics of Cube Sats by looking through different sources. Secondly we learned how to set up a led circuit with a breadboard and an Arduino.

The goal of this project is to create a cube sat that can orbit around Mars and collect data. A secondary goal is that the cube sat can survive a shake test with out damaging the cube sat or arduino.


Orbit Mars

Use power

Collect data

Be sturdy/durable


10x10 cm

1.3 kg

Step 1: Coding the Arduino

DHT-11 code is from Circuit Basics.

SD code is from Top Tech Boy.

Download the DHT zip file

Then upload the following code to the Arduino:

#include //Include DHT library//
#include //Include Wire library// #include //Include SD library// #include //Include SPI library//

File altimoterData; //Stores data in a file called sensor Data//

dht DHT;

#define DHT11_PIN 8 //Connects DHT to pin 8//

void setup(){ pinMode (10, OUTPUT); //Connects SD to pins 10, 4, and 7// pinMode (7, OUTPUT); SD.begin (4); Serial.begin(9600); }

void loop() { int chk = DHT.read11(DHT11_PIN); //Take reading from DHT 11//

altimoterData ="log.txt", FILE_WRITE); //Writes data to a file called log.txt//

if (altimoterData) {

Serial.print("Temperature = "); Serial.println(DHT.temperature); //Serial monitor print// Serial.print("Humidity = "); Serial.println(DHT.humidity); delay(1000);

altimoterData.print(DHT.temperature); altimoterData.print(","); altimoterData.println(DHT.humidity); //Prints data to SD card// altimoterData.close(); digitalWrite(7,HIGH); delay(500); digitalWrite(7,LOW); delay(500); //Makes LED blink every half second if program is working// } }

Step 2: Materials, Tools and Saftey

Electronic Materials

Cube Sat Materials


When using a X-acto knife be careful and cut away from yourself. If you decide to build a cubesat using metal or another strong material wear goggles to avoid getting pieces in your eyes.

Step 3: Wiring the Arduino

*For our project we used a three pin DHT-11 sensor however the Fritzing diagram I created shows one with four pins. The last one or two pins on the DHT-11 sensor are ground pins. A three or four pin sensor can be used for this project.*

Step 4: Attach the Sensor and SD Card Holder to a Breadboard

Step 5: Attach the Wires to the Arduino and Breadboard

Connect The Wires to the Breadboard lining up to the pin on the SD card holder and DHT11 (or ground/power). Then connect the other side of the wire to the listed pin on the arduino (or ground/power).

The left is where to connect to the SD or DHT (or g/p) the right is where to connect on the Arduino (or G/P).

SD Holder

1. CS - 4

2. SCK - 13

3. MOSI - 11

4. MISO - 12

5. VCC - 5V

6. GND - GND


1. GND - GND

2. DATA - 5V

3. VCC - 8

Step 6: Add the LED and Resistor

Add the LED to the breadboard and a resistor. Connect on pin to the LED and and the other end to pin 7.

Step 7: Building the Cube Sat

My Physics group and I decided to fold and tape cardboard to make a 10x10 cm cubesat with windows so data could still be collected. Inside our cube sat is a duck tape pocket to hold the arduino in place. You can follow our plan or create your own.

Step 8: Follow Our Sketch and Cut Out a Deconstructed 10x10 Cm Foldable Cardboard Cube

Step 9: Fold Up the Cube on Each Line and Duck Tape Together

Step 10: Add Windows

Cut out 2x2 cm windows on every side except the bottom.

Step 11: Add Duck Tape

Wrap the entire cube in duck tape to add sturdiness.

Step 12: Add a Clasp and Screws

Attach two screws to the top and side of the cube. Put a rubber band around one screw and attach to the other to close.

Add two screws inside to connect rubber bands and the arduino to.

Step 13: Put Arduino, Battery, and Breadboard Inside

When the Cube sat is ready to orbit plug the battery into the arduino, close the top latch with a rubber band, and attach the string loop to carabiner.

Step 14: Test

Sample of the first ten data pieces our sensor collected

Temperature is first in Celsius and humidity is second measured in Relative Humidity











Arduino Contest 2019

Participated in the
Arduino Contest 2019