National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight CenterGoddard Space Flight Center

Celebrate Pi Day with NASA Goddard and Pi-Sat

Pi-Sat Pi Day Banner

A Low Cost Small Satellite and Distributed Mission Test Platform

The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office (ITPO) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, invites the educators, students and the general public to celebrate Pi Day and discover Pi-Sat. Current technology trends indicate a shift in satellite architectures from large, single-satellite missions to small, distributed spacecraft missions. At the center of this shift is the SmallSat/CubeSat architecture.

Pi-Sat cube

The Pi-Sat cube fits in with a piece of pie on Pi Day 2016.
Credits: NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth

The primary goal of the Pi-Sat project is to create a low-cost and easy-to-use distributed spacecraft mission (DSM) test bed to facilitate the research and development of next-generation DSM technologies and concepts. This test bed also serves as a realistic software development platform for small satellite and CubeSat architectures.

The Pi-Sat is based on the popular Raspberry Pi single-board computer. Raspberry Pi runs the Linux operating system and can easily run the Goddard-developed Core Flight System (CFS) software architecture. The Pi-Sat models currently include a Pi-Sat 1U Cube, a Pi-Sat Wireless Node, and a Pi-Sat CubeSat processor card.Raspberry Pi Computer

A close-up of the Raspberry Pi computer that gives the satellite its name.
Credits: NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth

The Pi-Sat project takes advantage of many popular trends, including 3-D printing, rapid prototyping in order to provide a realistic platform for flight software testing, training and technology development.

The CFS software architecture is available to the public under a NASA Open Source Agreement. To learn more and/or to obtain a copy of the CFS suite please visit

To learn more or to pursue transfer possibilities for Pi-Sat technology, reference GSC-17561-1 or contact:
Enidia Santiago-Arce
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.