Raspberry Pi in space

Raspberry Pi offers low-cost, high-quality computers and microcontrollers that are used everywhere from industrial scenarios to challenging embedded environments, providing a compelling solution for space applications.

Off the shelf

Raspberry Pi hardware is available off the shelf. Our microcontrollers and computers are affordable, extremely reliable, and performant; and as a growing number of missions make use of our hardware, we are accumulating a solid flight heritage. With a large and experienced development community to help troubleshoot, and thorough documentation to support you, your project experience is simplified.

Familiar environment

Raspberry Pi single board computers are widely used for prototyping, and industrialised versions of the same hardware are available. This means that during your design phase you can build your flatsat making use of the same tooling you will use in orbit, and then move to industrialised versions of the hardware when you are flight-ready.

Flight heritage

Astro Pi

In collaboration with ESA, two space-hardened Raspberry Pi B+ computers, equipped with environmental sensors and a Raspberry Pi Camera Module to be used for Earth observation, were sent to the ISS in 2015. These computers were used by young people to run experiments with crew assistance onboard the station for seven years before being downmassed in 2022.

Upgraded Astro Pis – this time built around the new Raspberry Pi 4 equipped with an enhanced set of sensors, our newest Camera Module, and Google’s Coral Edge TPU – were launched and have been on station since 2021.

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GASPACS

The GASPACS CubeSat was a “Get Away Special” 1U CubeSat built by students from Utah State University (USU). The GASPACS mission operated for 117 days, from deployment in late January 2022 from the ISS until its reentry later that year.

Intended as a technology demonstration mission, the satellite tested deployment of a metre-long inflatable boom for passive attitude stabilisation. A Raspberry Pi Zero was used as the satellite's flight computer, while a Raspberry Pi Camera Module was used to take pictures of the boom deployment.

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Recommended products

Compute Module

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4) is an industrialised version of our Raspberry Pi 4 hardware. Built around the same Broadcom 2711 processor as Raspberry Pi 4, CM4 breaks out additional capabilities, such as PCIe, to its high-speed connector. This allows custom hardware to be designed around it, while maintaining compatibility with software and hardware developed on our single board computer, making the prototyping-to-production journey simple.

Buy a Compute Module 4

Cameras

Raspberry Pi offers a number of camera modules, including module variants with CS and M12 lens mounts. They have considerable flight heritage, having been used on multiple satellite missions from university CubeSat missions to deployment in larger satellites by established manufacturers.

Browse cameras

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Raspberry Pi Zero W is our smallest form factor board. It has been used as a flight computer and as an instrument and sensor control board in CubeSats and larger satellites. Raspberry Pi Zero W, and its newer and more powerful sibling Zero 2 W, which is powered by a custom-built system in package, offer the same familiar environment as our bigger boards but with a smaller footprint and lower power requirements.

Buy a Raspberry Pi Zero W

RP2040

RP2040 is our first in‑house silicon and our first microcontroller product. A dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller, the chip is 40nm silicon in a 7 × 7 mm QFN-56 SMD package with support for cached execute-in-place from external QSPI flash. With a large on-chip memory, symmetric dual-core processor complex, deterministic bus fabric, and rich peripheral set augmented with our unique Programmable I/O (PIO) subsystem, it provides professional users with unrivalled power and flexibility.

Buy RP2040

Clear and supportive documentation

All Raspberry Pi products are extensively documented, giving you a transparent view of how our computers work. Our dedicated documentation includes datasheets, guides, and schematics, as well as information on developer tools. Individual support for partners is available from our applications team.

Read our documentation

List of references

A non-exhaustive list of interesting papers around using Raspberry Pi in spaceflight