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 Waste from paper and pulp industry supplies raw material for development of new redox flow batteries
12.10.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Low-cost battery from waste graphite
11.10.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>