Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Aug.12.2019

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

** Virginia Tech awarded NASA contract to launch and operate the LAICE CubeSat (Lower Atmosphere/Ionosphere Coupling Experiment) as a part of the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative program. Lower Atmosphere/Ionsphere Coupling Experiment CubeSat – Gov Mik

The spacecraft will study to

…what extent do Gravity Waves influence the coupling of the Earth’s upper atmosphere and the lower ionosphere/mesosphere/thermosphere. 

The Virgin Tech team led the LAICE CubeSat project but they were

unable to attain an FCC license and therefore LAICE has been shelved indefinitely. The 2013 National Academy Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey Key Science Goal 2 has made this an attractive opportunity as launch and operation of the LAICE CubeSat will address key aspects of the goal. 

LAICE diagram
Diagram of the Lower Atmosphere/Ionosphere Coupling Experiment (LAICE) CubeSat. Credits: LAICE Overview presentation

** University Würzburg Experimental Satellite 4 (UWE-4) demonstrates Morpheus Space miniature electric thrusters: Electric thrusters changed attitude of University Würzburg cubesat –

The University Würzburg Experimental Satellite 4 has four 160-gram Morpheus Nano Field Effect Electric Propulsion (NanoFEEP) thrusters integrated in its rails, facing the same direction. In May, mission controllers fired the thrusters, which combine a liquid gallium propellant with a chip-based neutralizer, for slightly more than six minutes.

While the thrusters fired, the satellite’s rotation increased from approximately 1.7 degrees per second to more than four degrees per second, according to “Hybrid attitude control on-board UWE-4 using magnetorquers and the electric propulsion system NanoFEEP,” by Alexander Kramer, Philip Bangert and Klaus Schilling of University Würzburg.

University Würzburg Experimental Satellite 4 (UWE-4)
“UWE‑4 with Thrusters, Neutralizer and a new kind of sun sensors on each panel.” – University Würzburg

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-223 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • 50th Anniversary AMSAT Space Symposium Banquet Speakers Announced – Tickets Now Available
  • FUNcube-1/AO-73 Entering Continuous Sunlight
  • ARRL/TAPR 2019 Digital Communications Conference Call for Papers
  • BRICSAT2 and PSAT2 Get OSCAR Designations
  • 19th Global Symposium for Regulators
  • SSA Defends 23cm Band Against Galileo Threat
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

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)