Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Sept.16.2019

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

** Cambodian student CubeSat program formed with help of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo: Cal Poly team travels to Cambodia to help set up CubeSat program – KSBY

Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professor Pauline Faure and Computer Engineering Senior Justin Nguyen traveled to Cambodia in August to visit the Liger Leadership Academy in Phnom Penh.

Students there wanted to build and launch a softball-sized CubeSat, along with a mini-ground station to communicate with it.

** CubeSat club launched at Villanova University: They May be Building Nanosatellites, but there’s Nothing Small about Villanova’s CubeSat Club | Villanova University

The CubeSat club’s 2018-2019 year was packed with a variety of workshops and projects, including:

    • Setting up temporary ground stations called SatNOGS (Satellite Network Operators Group)
    • Building Yagi-Uda antennas from tape measurers and scrap wood and using them to track low earth orbit satellites as they flew over Villanova
    • Building an AMSAT CubeSat Simulator, a functional satellite model
    • Assisting with the freshman CubeSat mini-design projects
    • Earning amateur radio licenses and ham radio callsigns
    • Assembling and selling electronic transceiver boards used in CubeSats as a fundraiser

** Univ. of Kansas opens new facility for student smallsat projects: KU Engineering launches new Satellite Design and Development Lab | The University of Kansas

The Hill Space Systems Laboratory in Learned Hall features a 12-by-12-foot clean “white room” where students don protective clothing while they build nano-satellites, which weigh in at just under 10 kilograms, for a planned launch into Earth orbit. A second room in the same lab is stocked with computer equipment so students can design and test their creations.

“We’re hoping to have student satellite launches — microsatellites, nano-satellites — every other year,” said Rick Hale, Spahr Professor and chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering. “The first launch could be as early as spring 2020.”

** Profile of an Embry-Riddle grad student developing an improved antenna for CubeSats: Graduate Student’s Work Advances Space Communication Systems – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

[Noemí Miguélez Gómez’s] current CubeSat project with Dr. Eduardo Rojas in the Embry-Riddle Wireless Devices and Electromagnetics (WiDE) Laboratory is focused on bolstering communication using deployable antennas. Small research CubeSats may offer only one-tenth of a cubic meter of space, and therefore “you don’t have a lot of power for communications,” Miguélez Gómez explained. To improve communication, she has been working on a foldable antenna that would reflect signals in space to improve transmission performance. The work involves 3D printing and testing dozens of components. This antenna is part of an academic-industry partnership.

The newly opened WiDE lab is located in the John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex, or MicaPlex, the cornerstone building in Embry-Riddle’s Research Park. It gives students like Miguélez Gómez access to a design room with state-of-the-art software, advanced manufacturing equipment including 3D printers, and a testing area, among other perks.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-258 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Request For Cooperation in Receiving FO-29 (Fuji 3)
  • NO-104 Camera Will be ‘Live’ This Week
  • Chinese Taurus-1 Amateur Satellite Launched
  • Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) Awards Grant to ARISS
  • IARU Region 3 Approves New 15m Satellite Allocation
  • Improvements to the AMSAT Live OSCAR Satellite Status Page
  • Volunteer Opportunity – AMSAT Looking for Graphics Designer
  • Nine US Schools Moved Forward in ARISS Selection Process
  • AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium, October 12-13
  • Final Steps Taken Toward ELaNa 25 Amateur Satellite Launch
  • AMSAT Academy at the Albuquerque Duke City Hamfest
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • DM02 Satellite Expedition Sunday, September 22 – N6O/MM
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

Artist’s rendering of TEMPEST-D (Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems – Demonstration) CubeSat. Credits: NASA JPL

** Smallsats, Sensors and Real-Time Decision-Making Data | Kratos Communications – Jim Marshall, Director of the Space Dynamics Laboratory, is interviewed about

… how smallsat technology is being used in innovative ways to solve technical challenges faced by the military, science community, and industry. Find out how custom sensor, software, hardware, and thermal management solutions are making significant contributions to national defense and scientific discoveries. Hear about the programs where this technology is being applied to better understand global temperature changes in the thermosphere, identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects (NEOs) and mitigate the adverse effects of space weather.


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