Undergraduate and graduate students will be heavily involved in this Radio Aurora Explorer (RAX) project, led by the University of Michigan and SRI International, a California-based independent research and technology development organization.
This CubeSat, as it's called, will be the first free-flying spacecraft built in part by U-M students. Members of the Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory (S3FL) will play an important role. S3FL is an organization that gives students practical space systems design and fabrication experience.
"I'm extremely excited about the student involvement. They will be an integral part of the team," said James Cutler, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and a principal investigator on the project.
CubeSats, developed about five years ago, are approximately four-inch cube-shaped devices that launch from inside a P-Pod, a special rocket attachment that was developed by California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University. There is a growing interest in CubeSats as they offer relatively inexpensive and simpler access to space. The RAX satellite will essentially be made of three CubeSats.
The RAX will measure the energy flow in the ionosphere, the highest part of Earth's atmosphere where solar radiation turns regular atoms into charged particles. Disturbances in the ionosphere can affect earth-to-space communications such as GPS signals, digital satellite television and voice and data transmission systems including Iridium and Globalstar.
"This project will help us better understand space weather processes, how the Earth and Sun interact, and how this weather produces noise in space communication signals---noise that translates to lower quality telecommunications capabilities and error in GPS signals," Cutler said.
The RAX satellite will act as a receiver that will pick up signals from a ground radar transmitter. These radar pulses will reflect off disturbances, or space weather phenomena, in the ionosphere.
RAX is scheduled for launch in December 2009. This will be a milestone for Kiko Dontchev, program manager in M-Cubed, the S3FL team that will be working with Cutler.
Dontchev, a master's student in space engineering, has been involved in S3FL since he was a freshman at U-M. Last year, he started the M-Cubed project with other students because they wanted to see the launch of a satellite they worked on. M-Cubed is designing a Cubesat that can take high resolution photos of earth, but it doesn't have a launch date yet.
"It's pretty incredible that we'll build and design a spacecraft that will actually fly," Dontchev said. "This project ensures that Michigan will have a profound footprint in the CubeSat community."
Michigan will receive $510,000 of the $891,000 RAX grant. The project's other principal investigator is Hasan Bahcivan, a research physicist at SRI International. The first launch opportunity for the NSF satellite program will be with the Department of Defense Space Test Program, aboard a Minotaur-4 launch vehicle out of Kodiak, Alaska. Commissioning and launch support for the mission will be provided by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Wallops Flight Facility. RAX is scheduled to be the first in a series of CubeSat missions funded by the NSF to study space weather phenomenon.
For more information:
James Cutler: http://aerospace.engin.umich.edu/people/faculty/cutler/index.html
SRI International: http://www.sri.com/
National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov/Michigan Engineering:
The holy grail of nanowire production
20.02.2019 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Combining infrared radiation and air management to reduce energy use
19.02.2019 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.
The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
11.02.2019 | Event News
30.01.2019 | Event News
16.01.2019 | Event News
20.02.2019 | Life Sciences
20.02.2019 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering