Category Archives: Space Systems

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Oct.19.2019

This week’s episode of NASA’s Space to Ground weekly reports on activities related to the International Space Station:

** First All-Woman Spacewalk

On Oct 18, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch performed the first all-woman spacewalk. Koch & Meir replaced a faulty battery charge/discharge unit that failed to activate after a previous spacewalk. This was the fourth spacewalk for Christina Koch and the first for Jessica Meir.

** Scientific Investigations Set for Space on Northrop Grumman CRS-12: Radiation Protection, Rover Control, and More Headed to Space Station | NASA

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft scheduled to liftoff in early November will carry supplies and scientific experiments to the International Space Station. The investigations making the trip range from research into human control of robotics in space to reprocessing materials for 3D printing.

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Oct.13.2019

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

** High school students learn spacecraft engineering in the Irvine Cubesat program in Irvine, California: IPSF CubeSat Program | Beckman Foundation

The Irvine CubeSat Program is composed of six public high schools from the Tustin and Irvine School Districts. All schools are given specific roles and functions for each CubeSat Mission, to include Avionics, Communication, Propulsion, Power, BioTech, and Prime Contractor.

Mimicking a real-world engineering firm approach to large, complex projects, each team is responsible for communicating their plans and achievements to the rest of the group to ensure that the overall mission is successful.

Irvine01 and Irvine02 Cubesats
Cubesats Irvine01 (left), launched by Rocket Labin November 2018. and Irvine02 (right), launched by SpaceX in December of 2018, were both built by high school students. Credits: Irvine CubeSat

** Polish universities to build CubeSat for Mars mission launched by Virgin Orbit:  SatRevolution, Virgin Orbit and Polish Universities Establish Mars Consortium | Virgin Orbit

Scientists and engineers from nearly a dozen Polish universities have teamed up with Poland-based satellite company SatRevolution and Sir Richard Branson’s small satellite launch company Virgin Orbit to establish a new consortium to design and carry out the world’s first dedicated commercial small satellite mission to Mars. The parties established the consortium at a formal signing ceremony during the Impact Mobility’19 rEVolution conference in Katowice, Poland.

The consortium will jointly develop the first in a series of up to three Mars missions, with the initial launch expected as early as three years from now.

At the core of the consortium are many of the top technical universities in Poland. AGH University of Science and Technology, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Poznań University of Technology, Gdańsk University of Technology Lódz University of Technology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, and Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences have each signed on to take part in the collaborative program. Leadership from these universities see the consortium and the missions it will conduct as an unprecedented opportunity for growth and development across many technical disciplines, in addition to creating opportunities for commercialization.

** Rocket Lab Electron rocket to launch seven PocketQubes, including a university project, in 2019 in a cluster deployment system built by Alba Orbital.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-286 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • 2019 37th AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting
  • 2019 37th AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting Schedule
  • September/October 2019 Apogee View
  • W3ZM – 50 States in Our 50th Year
  • ITU Magazine Reports on IARU Agenda Items for WRC-19
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


Introduction to CubeSat Technology and Subsystem:
Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Oct.11.2019

This week’s episode of NASA’s Space to Ground reports on activities related to the International Space Station:

** NASA Astronauts Spacewalk Outside the International Space Station on Oct. 6, 2019

** Living and Working: Valuable Spaceflight Data Collaboration Tool

The International Space Station is the largest human-made structure in low Earth orbit (LEO) and serves as a space environment research laboratory where astronauts perform experiments in several unique fields including physics, astronomy, and biology. NASA’s Genelab collects valuable spaceflight experiment data for researchers and scientists to learn from this unique environment. GeneLab is an interactive, open-access resource where scientists can upload, download, store, search, share, transfer, and analyze omics data from spaceflight and corresponding analogue experiments. The biological studies conducted on the International Space Station generate critical data that scientists use to determine how terrestrial biology changes as a result of spaceflight.

** Meet Former NASA Astronaut Kathy Sullivan: the First American Woman to Walk in Space

35 years ago, on October 11, 1984, NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space. We video chatted with Kathy to ask her about this historic feat as well as her thoughts on the upcoming all-female spacewalk scheduled to take place October 21, 2019, with NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.


Come Fly with Us: NASA’s Payload Specialist Program
(Outward Odyssey: A People’s History of Spaceflight)

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Oct.4.2019

This week’s episode of NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report about activities related to the International Space Station:

** Multinational Trio Undocks from Station, Heads Home to Earth – On Thursday, a Soyuz capsule departed from the ISS with “NASA astronaut and Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Nick Hague, Expedition 60 and Soyuz commander Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates“.

** Touchdown! Three Multinational Crewmates Return to Earth – The Soyuz safely landed a few hours later in Kazakhstan.

** #AskNASA From Space: Astronauts Answer Your Questions – Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir on the ISS answered questions from social media sent using #AskNASA.

** Station Focuses on Busy Spacewalk Period After Trio Returns Home – Space Station/NASA – Ten EVA’s planned for the ISS crew during the final months of 2019:

Five more spacewalks are planned in November and December aimed at repairing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.


Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Sept.29.2019

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

** ESA hosts CubeSats Hands-On Training Week for university students: Students experience of miniature satellites with CubeSats Hands-On training – ESA

CubeSats are highly versatile satellites built up by 1 or more units measuring just 10cm along each side. Learning how to best use these tools is a valuable skill, so ESA Academy has hosted the CubeSats Hands-On Training Week 2019. Running from 16 – 20 September 2019 at ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Centre, ESEC-Galaxia, Belgium, the event was attended by 26 university students from 15 different ESA Member States and Canada.

The Training Week had a clear objective: transfer hands-on knowledge to university students who are keen to start their own educational CubeSat initiatives, or who are already at the conceptual or preliminary design stage of a CubeSat project at university. To achieve this aim, ESA Academy assembled a team of experienced tutors to lead the course. These included ESA experts, the Fly Your Satellite! (ESA’s educational CubeSat initiative) team, and two engineers from Theia Space (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid) delivering laboratory sessions with high-grade model CubeSats, called Educational Satellite models (ESATs).

ESA CubeSat training

** MeznSat CubeSat in development by two UAE university student teams with UAE Space Agency support: Inspiring students to reach for the stars  – Gulf News

One of the main objectives of the UAE Space Agency is to build capabilities in the space sector, in space engineering and sciences, especially within the university community. MeznSat, initiated in 2017, began as an education programme to design, build and operate a satellite, but at an educational level.

There is a global trend in space education programmes, encouraging the use of CubeSats or nanosatellites to engage students in satellite and space research. However, what started as an educational trend is now slowly turning commercial with private agencies and companies using satellites built by student bodies for commercial purposes.

The UAE Space Agency followed up on this trend with the founding of the MeznSat programme, a 3U CubeSat that will be used to study the environment and also look at greenhouse gas emissions over the UAE, especially methane and carbon dioxide. The programme is founded and run by the UAE Space Agency with participation by two local universities, Khalifa University and the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK).


More about MeznSat:

** Maine elementary school starts CubeSat project in NASA supported program: Vassalboro Community School students in line for joint project with NASA | The Town Line Newspaper

The timetable is indefinite, starting this fall. The project is supposed to take two years. Desmond expects to start with sixth-graders; the curriculum team hasn’t decided whether the second year will continue with the same students in seventh grade or hand over to the new sixth-graders.

The question the students will try to answer is whether the frequency or location of lightning strikes is changed by global warming. Sub-questions include whether the northeastern United States can expect more frequent or severe lightning strikes; if that answer is yes, what negative (like more forest fires) and positive (like more nitrogen fixing to improve soils) consequences might occur; whether energy could be captured from the lightning; and whether, if lightning is more frequent, housing codes should be adapted.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-272 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Experimenter Wednesday Announced for AO-92
  • The AMSAT Hamfests & Conventions Web Page Updates
  • 2019 37th AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting
  • 2019 AMSAT Symposium On-line Registration Open Until October 11
  • Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne Moves Another Step Closer to Flight
  • ARISS Activities & Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge Coming October 18-20
  • FO-29 Returns!
  • AMSAT-DL Memorandum Regarding QO-100 Operation
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


Introduction to CubeSat Technology and Subsystem:
Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction