Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Oct.20.2019

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

** University students are key to operating the LightSail-2 in orbit: “I Talk to It Every Day”: Students are Vital Members of LightSail 2 Team | The Planetary Society. The article profiles several of the students who help operate the Planetary Society’s LightSail-2 solar sail. The LightSail-2 CubeSat was launched last June inside the Georgia Tech Prox-1 spacecraft, a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. It was then ejected from Prox-1 a week later. The sail was unfurled on July 23, 2019.

Students like [Cal Poly San Luis Obispo physics undergrad Michael] Fernandez have benefited from the proliferation of CubeSats—small, standardized, low-cost satellites that often hitch rides to space with larger payloads. CubeSats have the same basic needs as any other space mission—things like communications, power, and attitude control—which makes them an ideal way for students to get real-world space mission experience.

“The LightSail 2 mission has done more than just demonstrate a new technology—it has provided valuable training opportunities,” said Planetary Society Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Vaughn. “We’re excited that our spacecraft is helping to prepare a new generation of scientists and engineers for future missions.”

“The student members of the LightSail 2 flight team play a critical role in mission operations,” said David Spencer, LightSail 2 project manager. “They do a lot of the heavy lifting of day-to-day operations, and perform key analyses that we rely upon to understand the mission performance.”

LightSail-2 Deployment
Deployment of the LightSail-2 32-square-meter sail. Credits: Planetary Society

** Students in CubeSat program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to assist the USAF in monitoring orbital objects:  Cal Poly is the first university to assist the Air Force in monitoring objects orbiting earth – Mustang News

Cal Poly students will now be helping the United States Strategic Command track more than 23,000 small objects orbiting Earth in the first university partnership of its kind.

“This first-of-its-kind partnership will allow current and future Cal Poly students to gain hands-on experience working with our four CubeSats currently in orbit and how they affect, and are affected by, other satellites in orbit,” President Jeffrey Armstrong said in the news release.

Cal Poly has a long history of working with Vandenberg Air Force Base. In the late 1990s, emeritus aerospace engineering professor Jordi Puig-Suari teamed with Stanford professor Bob Twiggs to develop the CubeSat standard — a small satellite that could ride aboard government and commercial space launches, according to the news release.

In the past two decades, hundreds of CubeSats have been launched. The Cal Poly CubeSat Laboratory is currently preparing its 12th CubeSat to launch in the next few months, Bellardo said.

** Lebanese CubeSat program to involve university teams: Lebanon Aims to Launch Nano-satellite Into Space by 2022 | Al Bawaba

“The EU is helping us with training and capacity building, by sending experts to train our local teams. There are 12 Lebanese universities participating; all have faculties of engineering or science. We have 42 of their brightest students taking part in eight teams, each led by their professor,” Abdallah said.

He said it was still early days and the teams were still developing their skills, but added that as a result of the initiative, the EU had renewed the TAF program for Lebanon and sent experts to train the local teams.

“The latest team to arrive was from the U.S. – two senior trainers, retired members of the Air Force labs and NASA, who delivered 12 days of training, eight hours a day, on how to manage a space program,” Abdallah said. “We haven’t been sitting around idle; we have already implemented a ground station in Mansourieh that can communicate with any nanosatellites in orbit,” he added. Expert training teams are also expected from Turkey, Spain and Italy.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-293 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • 2019 AMSAT Symposium Underway! Livestream Available
  • AMSAT Board of Directors Announces 2019 Officers
  • AMSAT-UK Colloquium Videos Available
  • Cubesat Simulators Launched
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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