Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Colorado student-built satellite selected for flight by NASA

28.01.2010
Satellite only the size of a Rubik's Cube

A tiny communications satellite designed and built by University of Colorado at Boulder undergraduates has been selected as one of three university research satellites to be launched into orbit in November as part of a NASA space education initiative.

The three satellites, dubbed "CubeSats" because of their shape, were built by CU-Boulder, Montana State University and Kentucky Space, which is a consortium of state universities. CubeSats are roughly four inches on a side, have a volume of about one quart and weigh about 2.2 pounds. The satellites are being flown as part of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNA, mission, said Chris Koehler, director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, or COSGC, which is headquartered at CU-Boulder.

The CU-Boulder satellite, named Hermes, was designed, built and tested by roughly 100 COSGC students on the CU-Boulder campus -- nearly all undergraduates -- over a period of about two and one-half years, said Koehler. The goal of the mission is to improve communications systems in tiny satellites through on-orbit testing of a high data-rate communication system that will allow scientists and engineers to downlink large quantities of information.

"This is great news for the students and for the Colorado Space Grant Consortium," said Koehler. "This is a homegrown CU-Boulder satellite and these students have pushed the capabilities of communication systems by integrating them into a very tiny satellite." Based in the CU-Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science, COSGC is funded by NASA and is a statewide organization involving 16 colleges, universities and institutions around Colorado.

Koehler said it is challenging to find launch opportunities for student satellites like Hermes. The three student satellites will be attached to a Taurus XL launch vehicle that also will launch NASA's Glory mission to study solar radiation. CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics designed and built a multimillion dollar solar payload for the Glory mission known as the Total Irradiance Monitor that will measure the total light coming from the sun at all wavelengths to help determine the energy balance of the planet.

CU-Boulder senior Nicole Doyle, project manager for Hermes and an aerospace engineering sciences department major, said the satellite has two communications systems. "One will allow us to 'talk' to the satellite and the other one will be used to test the high-speed communications system. If we are successful, the hopes are it can be used on other satellites."

The three CubeSat satellites will be attached to the Taurus XL rocket in a mechanical system known as a PPOD developed by the California Polytechnic State University in partnership with Stanford University. Once the rocket reaches about 385 miles high, the satellites will be ejected from the PPOD and will spring off into separate orbits, said Doyle.

The CU-Boulder satellite will be in contact with a COSGC ground station atop the Discovery Learning Center at the CU-Boulder engineering college. A second ground station is being built by the COSGC students in Longmont, about 15 miles northeast of Boulder, to monitor the high-speed communications data system, said Doyle.

"We are all really excited for launch," said Doyle. "We are now in our final push to test the communication sequence system and to finish our environmental testing, which includes vibration and vacuum chamber tests to verify that the satellite can survive in orbit."

Doyle said that when she got to CU-Boulder she was surprised to discover undergraduates had regular opportunities to design, build, test and fly spacecraft. "A number of students in my classes were talking about building satellites, so I decided to see what it was all about. That's when I came into the Colorado Space Grant Consortium," she said.

"This has been an incredible experience for me," said Doyle. "We learn from other CU students who are working on other space projects and who have experience in the kinds of research we are doing with Hermes. This is a great opportunity for students like me who want to work in the aerospace industry after college."

COSGC provides Colorado higher education students access to space through innovative courses, real-world, hands-on space hardware and satellite programs. The students interact with engineers and scientists from NASA and aerospace companies to develop, test and fly new space technologies on high-altitude balloons, sounding rockets and orbiting satellites.

Of the 52 space grant consortiums in the United States, Colorado's has been active in designing, building and flying 10 sounding rocket payloads, three space shuttle payloads, a satellite and hundreds of balloon experiments in the past 20 years, Koehler said.

For more information on COSGC visit: http://spacegrant.colorado.edu/.

Chris Koehler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.colorado.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Industrial Maturity of Electrically Conductive Adhesives for Silicon Solar Cells Demonstrated
25.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Silicon as a new storage material for the batteries of the future
25.04.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>