Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Aug.5.2019

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

** Univ. of North Carolina team building CubeSat for exoplanet studies: From Campus to Space: UNC Professor Building His Own Satellite –

Mann says student help is very valuable when it comes to design and creation. Senior Patrick Gorman is working on the research through the summer, currently designing the chassis and antenna for the CubeSat. He’s the president of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space organization on campus and the project appealed to him because of the variety of work he can do.

Mann says one of the reasons he’s happy the university guided him to making the satellite is the learning opportunity it provides to students like Gorman.

“Think how much more beneficial this is to a student who helped build something and gets to see it launch rather than get to see something else launch that someone else built. It’s much more satisfying for people involved, which I think is better for the education aspect of the program here.”

Mann says the prototype of the satellite should be complete in the next year, with the first launch of their CubeSat expected in two years.

** Colorado State TEMPEST-D demonstrates high-quality storm imaging capabilities with a low cost CubeSat: Small, nimble CSU satellite has surpassed a year in space –  SOURCE/Colorado State University

After meeting all its benchmarks for demonstrating small-satellite weather forecasting capabilities during its first 90 days, a Colorado State University experimental satellite is operating after more than one year in low-Earth orbit.

TEMPEST-D (Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems – Demonstration), a type of small satellite called a 6U CubeSat, is still providing precise images of global weather – exceeding the expectations of even its engineers.

TEMPEST-D is about the size of an Oxford dictionary and was deployed from the International Space Station last July carrying a miniaturized microwave radiometer. Measuring at five frequencies, TEMPEST-D can see through clouds to reveal the interior of storms where raindrops and ice crystals form.

The project is led by principal investigator Steven Reising, professor of electrical and computer engineering, whose team developed the satellite supported by an $8.2 million grant from NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office.

An artist’s rendering of the TEMPEST-D CubeSat in orbit. Image credit: Blue Canyon Technologies, CSU

See also TEMPEST-D – NASA JPL and

** Cal Poly profs awarded grants in support of CubeSat programs: Cal Poly Engineering Professors Plan to Expand CubeSat, Programming Education with Lockheed Endowments – Cal Poly News/Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Pauline Faure, assistant professor in the Aerospace Engineering Department, and Maria Pantoja, assistant professor in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department, each received a $25,000 award. The awards recognize faculty members who contribute new knowledge in the field of engineering; partner with industry; involve students with advanced ideas; and enhance teaching by introducing state-of-the-art topics in the classroom.

The awards provide time and resources for professional growth and development to enrich the educational experiences of Cal Poly students. In addition to their mini satellite work, the faculty members also plan to expand the use of parallel computing to study earthquakes, Hawaiian bird calls and wine production.

Faure said her main goal is to facilitate access to space to more people through STEM education, using mini-satellites called CubeSats as a tool.

“This is important because space is supposed to be available to all nations regardless of the hardships they might be facing,” she said. “Yet, space has a reputation of being inaccessible, complex and expensive.”

CubeSats, co-created by retired Cal Poly faculty member Jordi Puig-Suari, have allowed students and private citizens worldwide to become more involved in space research. Several CubeSats developed at Cal Poly have been launched into space.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-216 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • CAS-7B Designated BIT Progress-OSCAR 102 (BO-102)
  • AMSAT and ARISS Designing Amateur Radio System for Lunar Gateway
  • ARISS SSTV Owen Garriott Event Underway
  • AMSAT Member Named Young Ham of the Year
  • AMSAT member Wins Alabama Outstanding Youth Ham Award
  • ARISS Next Gen System Completes Critical Flight Certification Tests
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for July 2019
  • LightSail 2 Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for August 1, 2019
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

See also

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


The Race to the Moon Chronicled in Stamps, Postcards, and Postmarks:
A Story of Puffery vs. the Pragmatic (Springer Praxis Books)