Category Archives: Education

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.23.2020

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** “What Smallsat Projects Are Like For University Students” – Cold Star interview with Dr. Amelia Greig of Univ. of Texas at El Paso:

Dr. Amelia Greig of the University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research is on the Cold Star Project to talk about her experience. We’re looking into both her own experience as a student and professor, and that of her graduate students in today’s programs.

Dr. Greig earned an Australian National University doctorate in plasma physics & electrical propulsion, a Postdoctorate in Plasma Physics at CalTech, and taught aerospace propulsion, space environment and spacecraft thermal control at California Polytechnic State University before moving to the University of Texas.

I wanted to hear from “boots on the ground” about what’s going on in academia regarding smallsats. So we cover what kind of courses students are interested in, the hands-on opportunities they’re being given in addition to classroom theory, and Dr. Greig’s vision for the future.

In addition, she shares her thoughts on what graduate students can and should be doing before and as graduation approaches so they can maximize their job opportunities. Networking done well during this time can pay off strongly into their career. You can connect with Dr. Greig at

** Latest from the all-girl Kyrgyz Space Program in  Kyrgyzstan:

See also:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-019 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • GOLF-TEE Reaches Major Milestones
  • ARISS Contact Opportunity Call for Proposals February 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020
  • Satellite Status and Tracking API’s Added to AMSAT Website
  • Qarman Beacon Telemetry Information Released
  • China Telecoms Regulator Proposing to Delete Some Current Amateur Allocations
  • Memorial Service for Brian Kantor, WB6CYT
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Rick Fleeter – A Personal History of Smallsats – The Cold Star Project S02E04

Dr. Rick Fleeter, associate adjunct professor at Brown University and visiting lecturer at La Sapienza (Rome), has decades of personal history with small satellites.

“I got started in microspace through amateur radio and AMSAT. In the early 1980s I had the unusual experience of spending evenings building small satellites in a garage in Redondo Beach, CA, paid for essentially with small contributions by the team that was building them, while during the day working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and then TRW, where it was insisted that without something close to $1 billion there wasn’t much you could do other than paper studies.”

Rick Fleeter was launching smallsats in the 1970s, when they were considered merely a hobby or toys. Since then he has helped change the perception of cubesats to useful tools by leading well designed, cost-minimized projects. As an example, Brown’s Space Engineering department built a satellite for just $5000. He has written books, founded the company AeroAstro and the Space Horizons annual conference at Brown.

In this interview, Cold Star Project host Jason Kanigan asks Dr. Rick Fleeter about the smallsat and cubesat field, new developments, frustrations with space, and even company development.

** Isaac Arthur – The Future of Smallsats – The Cold Star Project S02E03

Host of the top space educator YouTube channel, Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur, is on the Cold Star Project and we’re talking about the future of smallsats. Isaac Arthur shares his views with host Jason Kanigan on:
* the potential impact of economies of scale and the sheer number of cubesats about to be put into orbit
* tracking problems and space debris cleanup possibly resulting from mission failure, end of life, and collisions
* connectivity improvements leading to SAR (search and rescue) & lifesaving operations
* the next two or three decades of industry & commercial development of continuous launches to place and replace satellite constellations
* the future of smallsat technology and “space jobs.”
Check out Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur here:…

** Riccardo Albertoni – Electric Propulsion for Smallsats – Cold Star Project S02E06

Dr. Riccardo Albertoni, a member of the Airbus team in charge of developing electric propulsion systems including the one used on the OneWeb constellation, is our guest on the Cold Star Project. His team was the 2017 & 2019 Winner of the Airbus Defence and Space Award for Excellence, and he lectures on electric propulsion at the Airbus Space Academy. Dr. Albertoni explains how electric propulsion for satellites works, as well as its role in the market. While electric propulsion has several advantages, it is not a fit for every type of mission. He explains to host Jason Kanigan that there will continue to be room for conventional combustion propulsion systems. Dr. Albertoni concludes by sharing his views on what new developments are upcoming in the electric propulsion field.

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.16.2020

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** ACRUX-1 CubeSat was launched by the Melbourne Space Program last summer on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket. The goal of the not-for-profit organization is “to launch the next generation of technology pioneers”. The CubeSat project was three years

… in the making. In June 2019, Melbourne-based volunteer students from various Australian universities across multi-disciplinaries designed, built from scratch and successfully launched a working CubeSat satellite called “ACRUX-1” into lower earth orbit on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket mission called Make It Rain. This was part of a ridesharing mission through Spaceflight, a launch service provider.

The next project is ACRUX-2

ACRUX-2 is the MSP’s next exciting nano-satellite mission that will be focused on the concept of responsible use of space.

Given the success of ACRUX-1, the MSP team have been given permission to think big! The plan is to build and launch a 3U Cubesat. Currently, the project is in the mission planning stage and the finer details of the mission are still to be finalised – so stay tuned for more info!

Check out the MSP news page for info on the ACRUX-1 and updates on ACRUX-2:

A video about the project: Insights into successfully designing, building and launching a CubeSat

Video of a live stream presentation by Hydrix electronics engineer, Blake Fuller, sharing his journey in helping to design and launch the ACRUX-1 CubeSat. The event was hosted by the Space Association of Australia

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-012 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Virgin Orbit Plans Flight Test of LauncherOne Rocket in February
  • AMSAT Awards Update
  • AMSAT at Cowtown Hamfest – Ft. Worth – January 17-18
  • JARL Announces FO-29 Activation Schedule
  • CAMSAT Says CAS-6 Activation for Amateur Use has been Delayed
  • Telemetry Dashboard Available for SMOG-P and ATL PocketQubes
  • MIT Radio Society W1MX January Lecture Series on “Everything Radio”
  • AMSAT-DL Announces a New QO-100 DownConverter V3d
  • AMSAT South Africa Space Symposium 2020 First Call for Papers
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


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AIAA & Blue Origin sponsor HS student competition to send experiment to space

An announcement from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Blue Origin:

AIAA and Blue Origin Partner to Launch Experiments
Designed by High School Students into Space

January 9, 2020 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Blue Origin have partnered to create Design/Build/Launch (DBL), a new competition designed to launch experimental payloads to study the effects of short-duration microgravity.

A fully reusable New Shepard rocket lifts off for a suborbital trip to space. Credits: Blue Origin

AIAA and Blue Origin invite high school students to develop creative research proposals in the fields of microgravity science or space technology and pair the experiment with a public outreach plan to share the excitement of space with others. The top proposal will be launched on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and receive a $1,000 grant to prepare and develop the experiment for flight.

“There’s no better way to learn than by doing,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “These students have an amazing opportunity to contribute to space research while learning how transformative aerospace can be while gaining the skills that will serve them well throughout their careers!”

AIAA and Blue Origin representatives will judge the submitted proposals on the basis of scientific/technical merit, outreach creativity, and feasibility. The winning payload is expected to fly on New Shepard in 2021. Postflight, the students will be recognized and have the opportunity to deliver their final report at ASCEND, an AIAA event dedicated to the space economy.

“Blue Origin is passionate about the future of living and working in space. Through payloads on our reusable New Shepard vehicle and our non-profit, Club for the Future, we are inspiring students to pursue careers in STEM and inviting them to visualize their own possibilities in space,” said Dr. Erika Wagner, payload sales director for Blue Origin. 


Proposals Due 3 April 2020
Announcement of Winning Team 22 May 2020
Experiment Flies 2021
Final Report Presentation at ASCEND November 2021

Who can enter?

All active high school students, between 9th and 12th grade (or equivalent homeschooling levels) at the time of their submission. Multiple students may collaborate on a single proposal, and a lead faculty advisor must be named to receive the payload development award. The competition is open to both U.S. and international students. Please see for more information.

About Blue Origin: For information on Blue Origin, visit and follow @BlueOrigin on Twitter and Instagram. To learn more about Club for the Future and our space mail program, visit and follow @ClubForFuture on Twitter and Instagram.

About AIAA: The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 85 countries, and 95 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information,, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.

About ASCEND: A new event by AIAA, ASCEND is designed to drive the $1 trillion space economy forward, bringing together technical and business leaders to solve problems that affect the entire planet and beyond. The international forum also is convening traditional and nontraditional players to help build the space economy. ASCEND’s inaugural event is 16–18 November 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, please visit, or follow us on Twitter @ascendspace.

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.6.2020

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** Guatemalan university student team’s Quetzal-1 CubeSat heading for the ISS for deployment from the Japanese Kibo module: Guatemalan first CubeSat delivered to JAXA : Experiment – International Space Station – JAXA

On December 3, 2019, the CubeSat “Quetzal-1” designed and built by students and researchers of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (University of the Valley of Guatemala) was delivered to the JAXA at Tsukuba Space Center by the satellite development team.

“Quetzal-1” is the Guatemalan first satellite, selected at the second round of the KiboCUBE Programme which has been jointly promoted by JAXA and United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Since the first orbital deployment of CubeSats from Kibo in 2012, this is the 13th mission of CubeSat deployment using the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD). Quetzal-1 will be deployed from the ISS Kibo in the spring of 2020.

JAXA’s JEM CubeSat deployer on left and the Quetzal-1 CubeSat built by students at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Credit: JAXA

See also  An University Team from Guatemala Selected for Second Round of KiboCUBE- JAXA.

** The UC Irvine CubeSat  team gives an update on their project:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-005 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Member KC9ZJX Receives 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Award
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for January 2, 2020
  • Space Fence nearing operational acceptance by U.S. Air Force
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for January 2020
  • Winter Field Day to Include Limited Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

    • How Tiny Satellites Can Help Us Weather Through Hurricanes | Dr. Kerri Cahoy | TEDxBocaRaton:

Kerri Cahoy is an Associate Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kerri leads the Space Telecommunications, Astronomy, and Radiation (STAR) Laboratory, and design, builds, launches, and operates shoebox-sized satellites called CubeSats. Kerri works with CubeSats to improve hurricane tracking using an instrument called a microwave radiometer. Her team flies miniature microwave radiometers on CubeSats and has shown that they work as well as larger and more expensive satellites with the Microsized Microwave Atmospheric Satellite (MicroMAS-2A). The next step is to go from only having one CubeSat in orbit to several, so that they can fly over the same location more often, like every fifteen minutes instead of only two or three times a day. Kerri has a Ph.D. and master’s in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.

Join Spire Aviation from Freightwaves for an introduction to impactful uses of our global ADS-B data to illuminate trends in aircraft operation. In addition, we will also demonstrate our Aviation Weather Product.

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.2.2020

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** “Kesari” CubeSat built by Indian students in six months. After launch to orbit on an Indian rocket, the team at the NRI Institute of Technology (NRIIT) at Agiripalli in Krishna district will upload their country’s national anthem to the demonstration spacecraft: Satellite built by students to beam anthem from space – The Hindu

“The satellite will start functioning once put in orbit. Antennas fixed to ‘Kesari’ will beam the anthem in Morse code as high-frequency radio waves. The anthem can be heard by ham radio operators and on walkie talkies across the world,” Mr. Salvendar told The Hindu on Friday.

Mr. Manoj Kumar said that ‘Kesari’ will have a lifespan of more than six months if equipped with solar panels. He thanked faculty Sk. Abdul Rehaman and the institute management for encouraging them in designing the mini satellite.

NRIIT Placement Cell director N.V. Surendra Babu said that Mr. Salvendar and his team designed the 450-gram satellite in just 45 days. The students said they drew inspiration from Sputnik-1 designed by Russian scientists.

** PocketQubes will enable satellite projects for educational and non-profit organizations at even lower costs than CubeSats.

FOSSASAT-1, for example, is a PocketQube demo mission recently launched for Fossa Systems on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket.

FossaSat is a pocketqube satellite which is being developed using free and open source ethics, more detailed information about the hardware and software involved in this project can be found here.

It will create the world’s first free and open source IoT network. The satellite will test the new LoRa spread spectrum modulation, allowing unprecedented link budgets with <5$ receivers, democratizing telecommunications to millions of students and individuals worldwide.

Based on the 5x5x5cm PocketQube standard, it will truly reduce the barrier to entry for launching a satellite with launch and development costs under 30000 EUR.

FOSSASAT-1 is built to the PocketQube standard with a size of 5 × 5 × 5 centimeters. Image credits: Fossa Systems

Initial results are generally positive:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-363 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • First Element of ARISS Next Generation Radio System Readied for Launch on SpaceX CRS-20
  • ARISS SSTV Event Planned for December 28 – January 1
  • Reminder: AMSAT CW Day on January 1
  • Changes to AMSAT TLE Distribution for December 26
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction