A sampling of recent stories about student CubeSat projects and programs:

** Young women are crowdfunding Kyrgyzstan’s first satellite — Quartz

Of the world’s 195 countries, 72 have official space agencies, including NigeriaBangladeshPeru, and Bolivia. Kyrgyzstan does not. So a group of young women decided to start their own.

Kyrgyzstan is not an easy place to be female; it was described last year by Reuters as “a nation rife with domestic violence, child marriage and bride kidnappings.” The dozen or so members of the Kyrgyz Space Program, who range in age from 17 to 25, came together for a free robotics course started by journalist and TED fellow Bektour Iskender last March and meet twice a week at the offices of Kloop, the independent journalism school Iskender runs in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital. They are crowdfunding their work towards building and launching a cube satellite, a miniature design known as a CubeSat that can cost as little as $150,000 to produce.

** ASGC [Alabama Space Grant Consortium] gears up to build first collaborative CubeSat to measure gamma-ray bursts – Univ. of Alabama at Huntsville

Based at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), ASGC member universities are Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, Tuskegee University, The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAH and University of South Alabama. ASGC members have individually launched two previous CubeSats, and five CubeSat projects are underway independent of the collaborative effort.

The first collaborative ASGC CubeSat project will carry a gamma-ray burst (GRB) detector to be placed in the vicinity of the moon to detect short gamma-ray bursts.

** Cal Poly students helped integrate first CubeSat to photograph Mars, image released – Mustang News

Students from the on-campus organization Cal Poly CubeSat Laboratory, or PolySat, helped integrate two CubeSats for launch in May, which just became the first spacecrafts of their kind to photograph Mars. The two CubeSats — MarCO-A and MarCO-B, collectively called MarCO — are twin miniaturized satellites, each roughly the size of a briefcase, that will be testing communications capabilities in deep space.

PolySat members partnered with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) to help integrate MarCO before take-off, which involved final spacecraft check ups and securing both CubeSats into their deployers. MarCO-B captured a photo of Mars on October 3 as part of a test in exposure settings and the image was released by NASA October 22.

Here is the CubeSat photo of Mars released by NASA JPL:

** Japan launches GOSAT-2, UAE’s KhalifaSat, the Philippines’ Diwata-2, and 3 cubesats | SpaceTech Asia

Along with these, today’s launch carried two other small satellites, all from Japanese universities. The largest is the 45kg the 22kg Ten-Koh, developed by Kyushu Institute of Technology. Interestingly, the satellite is Quasi-spherical and covered with solar cells, and will measure the degradation of advanced materials due to magnetic flux and radiation in the LEO environment.

Lastly, two 1U cubesats were orbited – AUTcube 2 by Aichi University of Technology with a mission to demonstrate Virtual Reality (VR) and satellite communication using LED bulbs, as well as STARS-AO by Shizuoka University, which carries a tiny telescope for astronomical observations.

** UAE students integrate MYSAT-1 – SatellitePro ME

MYSAT-1 is the first CubeSat (a miniature satellite used for space research) developed by students of the Khalifa University’s Space Systems and Technology Masters Programme.

The UAE’s Khalifa University students and faculty have participated in the successful integration of the “MYSAT-1” CubeSat to NanoRacks’ external Cygnus Cubesat deployer, an automated cargo resupply spacecraft destined for the International Space Station (ISS).

** With this UP scholarship, you’ll learn how to build a cube satellite – FlipScience

After the successful launches of Diwata-1 and Maya-1, interest in Pinoy space science is at an all-time high. As the PHL-Microsat team prepares to launch Diwata-2 by the end of October, the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) and the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman offer a unique, unprecedented educational track in the Philippines: one where you can learn — and actually experience — how to build a cube satellite of your own.

** QU college launches CubeSat project – Gulf Times

Qatar University College of Engineering (QU-CENG) has announced the launching of its CubeSat project. The first QU built CubeSat satellite is to be called QUBSat-I.

The new initiative aims to conceive a multidisciplinary students’ based mega project focused on building, launching and operating a miniaturised pico-satellite system and a satellite ground station according to the CubeSat standardised project in addition to an experimental rocket launching facility. 

** Space lab launching at Grace Brethren | Simi Valley Acorn

One small snip of a ribbon will mark one giant leap for science students next month at Grace Brethren High School.

As part of the Simi Valley school’s open house on Nov. 3, officials will hold an 11:30 a.m. ribbon cutting for the Space Brethren Cubesat Laboratory, a high-tech lab where students will build and operate a Cube Satellite set to launch in 2020.

** Student-Built Spacecraft Ready for Launch | UVA Today

The students, working on a grant from the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, said the project has allowed them to be both independent thinkers and team players as they’ve worked their way through a seemingly endless series of problems and challenges, from design and construction of the craft to writing the computer code for its operation.

Puckette and LaCour said the CubeSat project has provided valuable on-the-job training, as they have worked as engineers on a real-world – or, out-of-this-world – NASA mission. They’ve made countless calls to engineers, technicians and other experts at the space agency, and to aerospace and computer companies as they built their expertise in areas that transcend what they’ve learned in Engineering School classes. They’ve also met with, and coordinated planning with, their student colleagues at the other Virginia universities.

** Find more news about student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects at AMSAT – The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation.

Here is today’s report: ANS-308 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins


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