A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs:

** East Tennessee middle school students build cubesat for launch from the ISS:

Students are in the final stages of progression from using 3-D printed plastic prototypes to working with space-age materials. The Robertsville Rams’ so-called Ramsat will help study regrowth of forests in the Smokies from space.

The student group, mentored by professionals at nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are awaiting word from NASA on which launch would send up their cubesat as secondary payload to the International Space Station.

** Students at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology working on CubeSat formation flying: Space exploration research ongoing at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology – KNBN NewsCenter1

At SDSM&T, a small group of engineering students are working to take the cubesat to a new level through NASA’s cubesate launch initiative.

“We need to be able to use a camera to figure out where a cubesat is relative to another cubesat,” said Skye Rutan-Bedard, undergraduate researcher.

The goal is to communicate between multiple cubesats, getting them close together in space.

“By introducing better technology for getting these cubesats to localize, when they’re close to each other they can produce densely packed constellations and also means we can experiment with docking and getting individual cubesats to dock in orbit,” said Rutan-Bedard.

** Arizona and Puerto Rico students to build CubeSats to carry out asteroid surface simulation experiments: $3M in NASA Funding to Help Students Build CubeSats | UANews

University of Arizona researchers will use $3 million in NASA funding over three years to research the low-gravity surface environments of asteroids, and to provide students from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to design, build and operate CubeSats, or miniature satellites at the UA.

The project was selected through NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project Institutional Research Opportunity, or MIRO, program. The UA, which was designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2018, is one of eight institutions to receive a share of more than $8.2 million in cooperative agreements awarded through the MIRO program.

“This project will help us understand asteroid surface geophysics in a way that no one has done before,” said Erik Asphaug, deputy principal investigator for the project and a professor in the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. “And the students get to participate in a low-cost endeavor that has huge implications for how we work with asteroids in near-Earth space.”

** Univ. Central Florida Q-PACE CubeSat to study how small dust particles grew into planets:

In the very early stages of planet formation, dust grains trapped in a disk around the young star gently collide with each other, sticking and growing into bigger aggregates. Similarly, particles in planetary rings collide at very low relative velocities and form aggregates leading to many an observed features of Saturn’s rings for example. To better understand these low-velocity collisions and the growth of aggregates, microgravity experiments observing multi-particles systems are required. In particular, collision data for µm to cm-sized particles will help closing the current gap in knowledge of how dust grows into km-sized bodies, as well as better our understanding of particle dynamics in planetary rings.

Q-PACE (CubeSat Particle Aggregation and Collision Experiment) will observe a set of 0.1 mm to cm-sized particles colliding and growing under microgravity conditions. This 3U CubeSat will allow that inherits its format from the NanoRocks experiment currently on the International Space Station will allow for the observation of particle dynamical evolution and growth for an unprecedented duration in time of several years. 

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-202 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT is proud to announce the relaunch of its AMSAT Ambassador Program
  • Watch for ISS, SSTV Activity
  • Nihon University Announces FO-99 US Operation Plan
  • FO-29 update from JARL
  • 2019 Mid-Year Fundraising Letter
  • 2019 37th AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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