Category Archives: Education

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Mar.10.2019

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

** Old Dominion University (ODU) CubeSat completed for the Virginia CubeSat Constellation program (see previous CubeSat Roundup for more about the Virginia Cubesat Constellation initiative): ODU’s CubeSat Moves Closer to Liftoff – News @ ODU

A team of Old Dominion University students took a giant leap toward space as they joined two other Virginia universities in delivering their CubeSats to NanoRacks in Houston on Feb. 26. The nano-sized cube satellites were successfully integrated into the company’s commercially developed NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) in preparation for launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled for April 17 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Kimberly Wright, a graduate student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, serves as student mission manager for ODU. She was accompanied by her teammates, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering master’s student Westin Messer and Electrical Engineering master’s student Anthony Cappiello, as well as their faculty advisor, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Dimitrie Popescu. Wright was thrilled to finally hand off ODU’s CubeSat for this critical step in a multiyear journey.

Kim Wright (Center), mission lead for ODU, takes a picture of the ODU CubeSat. UVA mission lead Erin Puckette (Left) and Virginia Tech mission lead Madison Brodnax (Right) look on.

**  The Alabama CubeSat Initiative will involve about 100 students and faculty from colleges around the state in the developing of CubeSats for deep space missions:

“There have been many student-developed CubeSats previously; to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a student-developed CubeSat to fly outside LEO,” says Dr. Dale Thomas, ASGC director, UAH professor and the eminent scholar in systems engineering. “I think that’s a pretty big deal. And it will be exceptionally challenging.”

On Oct. 16, the Alabama Space Authority passed a resolution supporting the Alabama CubeSat Initiative. The intent of the initiative is to ramp up a system by which ASGC members will eventually fly one collaborative CubeSat per year.

The Initiative is sponsored by the Alabama Space Grant Consortium (ASGC). Commercial support for the program: LogiCore donates $5,000 to help ASGC CubeSat workshop – ASGA

A $5,000 donation from LogiCore Corporation, a logistics and engineering services company in Huntsville Alabama is helping the Alabama Space Grant Consortium (ASGC) to design and build the first in a planned series of statewide collaborative cube satellites (CubeSats).

A recent workshop about the project, which will carry a gamma-ray burst (GRB) detector to be placed in the vicinity of the moon to detect short gamma-ray bursts, was partially sponsored by the LogiCore donation.


** Sydney University’s Centre for CubeSats, UAVs & their Applications (CUAVA) will build two technology demonstration satellites that will be deployed from the Japanese module on the ISS: Sydney Uni partners with Japanese start-up to launch CubeSats – iTnews

The Training Centre for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their Applications (CUAVA) is currently developing two CubeSats to test the uses for cheaper, smaller satellites in the Australian context while developing local expertise in the field.

‘CUAVA-1’ is set to be the first satellite launched later this year, and will be laden with remote sensing, GPS, and communications equipment, along with sensors to monitor the environment in space.

Space BD, who is also a commercial service provider with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will provide end-to-end launch and deployment services for CUAVA.

** Latest on KickSat-2, which has over 100 tiny ChipSats on board:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-069 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Out of This World Auction Sponsored by ARISS
  • AMSAT-F Space Meeting is First Live DATV Conference via QO-100
  • GNU Licensed KLog Logbook Software v.0.9.7 Released
  • How to support AMSAT
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat news & info:


Galaxy Girls: 50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space.

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Feb.25.2019

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

** LunaH-Map Spacecraft – A CubeSat project at Arizona State University:

The Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map) is a 6U CubeSat mission recently selected by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate to fly as a secondary payload on first Exploration Mission (EM-1) of the Space Launch System (SLS), scheduled to launch in July 2018. LunaH-Map is led by a small team of researchers and students at Arizona State University, in collaboration with NASA centers, JPL, universities, and commercial space businesses. The LunaH-Map mission will reveal hydrogen abundances at spatial scales below 10 km in order to understand the relationship between hydrogen and permanently shadowed regions, particularly craters, at the Moon’s South Pole. 

** KickSat-2 Update – Latest on the recently deployed CubeSat KickSat-2, which started as a Cornell student project funded with a Kickstarter, that release over a hundred “ChipSats” when it reaches a very low earth orbit (assuming it gets permission from the FCC to do so): KickSat-2 is Alive and Being Tracked –

KickSat-2 is scheduled to deploy up to 104 tiny Sprite satellites into low Earth orbit. The Sprites then would transmit on 437.240 MHz at 10 mW, communicating with each other via a mesh network and with command stations on Earth. The Sprites, which are less than 2 square inches, are expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere within weeks. Manchester did not indicate if attempts would be made to deploy the Sprites.

NASA calls KickSat-2 a technology demonstration mission that’s designed to demonstrate the deployment and operation of prototype Sprite “ChipSats,” also known as “femtosatellites.”

The FCC recently imposed a $900,000 penalty on a commercial concern, Swarm Technologies, for launching similar tiny satellites after the FCC had denied permission.

“These spacecraft are therefore below the size threshold at which detection by the Space Surveillance Network can be considered routine,” the FCC told Swarm Technologies.

Manchester had been trying without success to convince the FCC to allow him to deploy the Sprites from KickSat-2, but, apparently gun shy after the Swarm action, the agency denied permission at the last moment.

Once NASA adopted KickSat-2 as its own mission, however, the regulatory body shifted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the launch went forward.

Zachary Manchester, who started the project while a post-doc at Cornell, is now an assistant professor at the Stanford School of Engineering. Here is the REx Lab: KickSat Project page at Stanford.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-055 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • 50th Anniversary AMSAT OSCAR Satellite Communications Achievement Award (Limited Edition) Starts March 3rd
  • FalconSAT-3 Digipeater Waiting for Your APRS Packets
  • Qatar OSCAR-100 Web Receiver Now Live
  • AMSAT Journal January/February 2019 Is on Its Way
  • KickSat-2 is Alive and Being Tracked (Updated 2/19/2019)
  • Ladybird Guide to Spacecraft Communications Training Course
  • IARU Region 1 Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) Announced
  • This Month in AMSAT History
  • AMSAT-SA Space Symposium March 16, 2019
  • HamSCI Workshop Receives National Science Foundation Grant
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


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Cygnus cargo ship deploys CubeSats for NanoRacks

Following its departure from the ISS last week, a Northrop-Grumman Cygnus cargo vessel has deployed three CubeSats, including MySat-1, which was built by students in the UAE, and KickSat-2, which originated with a Cornell university program led by Zac Manchester and involved a Kickstarter campaign with contributors assigned to one of hundred tiny “Sprite” chipsats to be released from the “mothership”.

NanoRacks arranged for the deployments and has posted the following release about the program:

NanoRacks Completes Sixth CubeSat Deployment
from Cygnus Spacecraft, Continues Historic Program

February 14, 2019 – Dulles, Virginia – Last night, NanoRacks successfully completed the Company’s sixth CubeSat deployment mission from Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. Cygnus (S.S. John Young) departed the International Space Station on February 8th, 2019 and performed a number of on-orbit activities, including yet another historic NanoRacks deployment.

Cygnus maneuvered to a higher-than-Space Station altitude (445 kilometers) where the NanoRacks External Cygnus Deployment mission released two of the three CubeSats on board into orbit, MySat-1 and the second CHEFSat satellite. The spacecraft then lowered to an altitude of 300 kilometers to deploy KickSat-2.

The deployment of MySat-1 marks an additional historic moment for NanoRacks, being the first payload that NanoRacks has launched and deployed from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). MySat-1 is a joint program from Yahsat, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and Northrop Grumman, and is the first satellite built at the Yahsat Space Lab in Masdar City, and among the first to be developed by local students.

“We could not be more excited about all of the activity happening in the space industry in the UAE,” says NanoRacks Vice President of Business Development and Strategy, Allen Herbert. “We have a number of groundbreaking programs in the works, and the MySat-1 deployment is the perfect way to kick start NanoRacks activities in the region.”

KickSat-2 was selected for flight by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and was launched as the sole CubeSat in the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites-16 (ELaNa-16) mission complement, sponsored by the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP).

KickSat-2 was deployed well below the International Space Station altitude due to the satellite sub-deploying smaller “ChipSats,” a prototype representing a disruptive new space technology. These ChipSats, also known as “Sprites,” are tiny spacecraft that include power, sensors, and communication systems on a printed circuit board measuring 3.5 by 3.5 centimeters, with a thickness of just a few millimeters and a mass of just a few grams. The ChipSats are expected to be in orbit for merely a few days before burning up.

“This entire mission is a testament to the flight safety teams in-house at NanoRacks and at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and the flight operations team at Northrop Grumman,” says NanoRacks External Payloads Manager, Henry Martin. “We were able to shepherd some extremely challenging payloads through the NASA system on a timeline that met the needs of our customers. This required a lot of teams working very closely together, and we’re proud to have yet another successful mission that demonstrates the extended use of cargo vehicles.”

The NanoRacks External Cygnus Program is the first program to have leveraged a commercial resupply vehicle for use beyond the primary cargo delivery to Space Station, demonstrating the future possibilities for using cargo vehicles for the NanoRacks Space Outpost Program and other commercial space station activities. With successful completion of this mission, NanoRacks has deployed 35 satellites from the Cygnus into multiple orbits.

“Thank you again to the teams at NASA and Northrop Grumman for allowing our creativity in orbit to grow with our customers’ dreams,” continues Martin.

To date, NanoRacks has deployed 231 satellites into low-Earth orbit.

For additional updates, follow @NanoRacks on Twitter.

For NanoRacks media inquiries, please email Abby Dickes,

About NanoRacks: NanoRacks LLC, an XO Markets company, is the world’s leading commercial space station company. NanoRacks believes commercial space utilization will enable innovation through in-space manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, fiber optics – and more, allow for transformational Earth observation, and make space a key player in finding the solution to Earth’s problems.

Today, the company offers low-cost, high-quality solutions to the most pressing needs for satellite deployment, basic and educational research, and more –in over 30 nations worldwide. Since 2009, Texas-based NanoRacks has truly created new markets and ushered in a new era of in-space-services, dedicated to making space just another place to do business.

In 2017, the Company announced their long-term plans via the NanoRacks Space Outpost Program. This program is dedicated to the repurposing of the upper stages of launch vehicles in-space and converting these structures into commercial habitats, both humanly and robotically tended, throughout the solar system.


Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past

Videos: “Remote Sensing for Conservation & Biodiversity” – NASA webinar

These two videos are from a NASA webinar on the use of satellite Remote Sensing for Conservation & Biodiversity applications.

NASA ARSET: Remote Sensing for Conservation, Session 1/2

Conservation and biodiversity management play important roles in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Earth observations can help with these efforts.

Session One: Remote Sensing for Conservation This session will focus on remote sensing for habitat suitability, species population dynamics, and monitoring wildfires. Download materials from this presentation:… This training was created by NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET). ARSET is a part of NASA’s Applied Science’s Capacity Building Program. Learn more about ARSET:

NASA ARSET: Remote Sensing for Biodiversity, Session 2/2

Session Two: Remote Sensing for Biodiversity. This session will focus on the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEOBON), Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), and essential biodiversity variables. Download materials from this presentation:……


Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Feb.4.2019

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

** NTU Singapore Deploys Its Ninth Satellite Into Space – Asian Scientist Magazine

Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, has successfully launched and deployed its ninth satellite. NTU’s first foray into space began 20 years ago. The first project was a communication payload codenamed Merlion, while the main satellite body was developed by the University of Surrey, UK. The latest satellite, called the AOBA VELOX-IV cube satellite, was built by a team led by Mr. Lim Wee Seng, executive director of NTU’s Satellite Research Centre, while its new altitude determination and control algorithm was developed by Professor Cho Mengu’s research team at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan. It was launched from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Epsilon-4 rocket.

** USI students make history with UNITE CUBE SAT deployment –

Two years of hard work came to fruition Wednesday morning when students from USI [University of Southern Indiana] watched their handmade satellite launched from the International Space Station.

The team was selected to design, build, and monitor the UNITE CUBE SAT satellite. The device is designed to measure plasma levels in the ionosphere, study the Earth’s orbit and measure temperature readings when the satellite re-enters the atmosphere.

“It was a lot of testing and development,” said Ryan Loehrlein, a USI senior and assistant team leader on the UNITE project. “We were doing prototyping with the boards. We were outside in below freezing temperatures at times just making sure the satellite would work. So actually seeing it launch today and getting to see it launched into space it’s one of those things that…it’s hard to let go of it because we’ve been doing it so long.”

See also Satellite made by USI students launched into space –

** New nanosatellite system captures better imagery at lower cost — ScienceDaily

Ben-Gurion University researchers have developed a new satellite imaging system that could revolutionize the economics and imagery available from space-based cameras and even earth-based telescopes.

“This is an invention that completely changes the costs of space exploration, astronomy, aerial photography, and more,” says Angika Bulbul, a BGU Ph.D. candidate under the supervision of Prof. Joseph Rosen in the BGU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

In a paper published in the December issue of Optica, the researchers demonstrate that nanosatellites the size of milk cartons arranged in a spherical (annular) configuration were able to capture images that match the resolution of the full-frame, lens-based or concave mirror systems used on today’s telescopes.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-034 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Announces 50th Anniversary Space Symposium in Washington, DC
  • Es’hail-2/P4A Designated Qatar-OSCAR 100 (QO-100)
  • NEXUS Designated as Fuji-OSCAR 99 (FO-99)
  • OrigamiSat-1 Granted FO-98 OSCAR Number
  • Frank Bauer KA3HDO Appears on Ham Talk Live
  • The ARISS Team Thanks You for Your Tremendous Support in 2018!
  • ARRL Board Creates Permanent ARISS Committee
  • European Astro Pi Challenge 2018/19: Mission Zero
  • 2019 HamSCI Workshop Call for Papers and Speakers
  • AMSAT-DL Website Now Multilingual
  • Changes to the AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for January 31, 2019
  • How to Support AMSAT
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

** General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


** Reposting –  From Basement to Orbit – A New Class of Personal Satellites by Joe Latrell — Kickstarter – Crowdfunding the launch of a picosat PocketQube.

Development is nearly complete. The design for the PocketQube is finalized, and the hardware is now functional. There are still some integration processes and software work to do along with various testing requirements. We are also in the process of getting our licensing with the FCC, ITU, and other government agencies. We have spent nearly $50,000 getting to this point. To take it across the finish line, we need to raise $50,000 more. Our plan is to launch Discovery in 2019 into a 500 km (310 miles) Sun synchronous orbit. This location gives the Discovery optimal viewing of the Earth and makes it easier for us to retrieve data and upload new instructions. But in order to be ready to fly, we have to finish a lot of fine details between now and then.

More at Kickstarter campaign starts to finance launch of garage-built cubesat | Behind The Black.


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