Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Dec.26.2018

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

** UF research satellite launches into orbit – Gainesville Sun – Gainesville, FL

… NASA launched a University of Florida satellite that could help improve the accuracy of timing-sensitive satellites, such as GPS.

The satellite is more than 500 kilometers (315 miles) above Earth, orbiting at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour.

“We’ve spent five and a half years to get to this point, and the launch is always the riskiest part,” said UF mechanical and aerospace engineering Associate Professor John Conklin. “Having passed that hurdle, it feels great.”

The UF satellite was one of 13 research cube satellites launched by Rocket Lab Electron from New Zealand as part of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program. The goal of UF’s research from space is to improve time-transfer synchronizing systems through laser technology. Systems like GPS synchronize their times through radio waves, which have a higher delay in the atmosphere and also a higher error rate.

** UWE-4 satellite ready to launch | Southgate Amateur Radio News – UWE-4 – Lehrstuhl für Informatik VII

The University Würzburg Experimental Satellite 4 (UWE-4) is the most recent project within the UWE CubeSat family. This 1U (one unit) CubeSat will incorporate for the first time in the UWE program a propulsion system. The satellite is scheduled for launch on board a Soyuz-2 mission using a Fregat upper stage in December 2018.

** CubeSats Could Use Laser Pointers to Transmit Data to Earth >

But laser communications also have a significant drawback: because laser beams are much more focused than radio waves, they need to be pointed with much greater precision at receivers on the ground.

The MIT team developed a laser-pointing platform about the size of a coffee mug that uses a mirror, smaller than a fingernail, to bounce the laser down toward a ground receiver. The platform can adjust the angle of the mirror to change the laser’s direction.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-357 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Changes to the AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for December 20, 2018
  • UWE-4 Satellite Ready to Launch
  • New Amateur Radio Packet Gear Awaits Unpacking, Installation on Space Station
  • Successful “AMSAT on the Queen Mary” Operation
  • AMSAT CW Activity Day January 1, 2019 In Memory Of W3XO
  • ELaNa-XIX Successfully Launched
  • AMSAT Awards
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

  • Venture Class Rockets First Class Flights for CubeSats – NASA:


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