Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Nov.3.2019

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

** NG Cygnus carries HuskySat-1, built by Univ. Washington students, to ISS.

HuskySat-1 is a 3U CubeSat designed, built, and tested by the Husky Satellite Lab. HuskySat-1’s goal is to test two experimental payloads, a Pulsed Plasma Thruster, and a high-frequency K-band communication system, as well as hosting an Amateur Radio Linear Transponder.

HuskySat-1 is being developed by an interdisciplinary team at the University of Washington and will be launched into Low Earth Orbit to become the first amateur satellite from Washington state. This CubeSat will demonstrate the capabilities of new technologies being developed at the University of Washington and expand the capabilities of CubeSats as a whole. In particular, a high-thrust pulsed plasma thruster (PPT), and high-gain communications system will form the core technology suite on board the satellite. The HuskySat-1 will also be flying a newly developed Amateur Radio Linear Transponder developed by AMSAT which will contribute to the worldwide communication networks built and operated by ham radio enthusiasts.


More about the project: Washington’s first student-built satellite preparing for launch | UW News

Some of the student-built parts will still be in test mode. A custom-built thruster uses sparks to vaporize small amounts of solid sulfur as a propellant. The thruster will fire about 100 times as the satellite passes over Seattle, only enough thrust to provide a slight nudge. A high-bandwidth communications system built by former graduate student Paul Sturmer, now at Blue Origin, transmits at 24 Gigahertz, allowing the satellite to quickly send reams of data. That system will send down a test packet from space.

“Usually people buy most of the satellite and build one part of it. We built all the parts,” Northway said. “It was a pretty serious undertaking.”

** Seven student built CubeSats on Cygnus in total: Seven Student-Made CubeSats Set To Fly Aboard Antares –  NASA

On Saturday, seven small research satellites, or CubeSats, developed by students from eight universities across the nation will fly on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops, Virginia, targeting a launch at 9:59 a.m. EDT.

All seven CubeSats were selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and are a part of the 25th Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission. CSLI enables the launch of CubeSat projects designed, built and operated by students, teachers and faculty, as well as NASA Centers and nonprofit organizations. ELaNa missions provide launch and deployment opportunities and ride-shares to space for CubeSats selected through CSLI. Students are heavily involved in all aspects of the mission from developing, assembling, and testing payloads to working with NASA and the launch vehicle integration teams. The ELaNa CubeSats are held to rigorous standards similar to those adhered to by the primary spacecraft.

Five of the CubeSats were developed through NASA’s Undergraduate Student Instrument Project or USIP.

The 5 USIP CubeSats flying on Antares are:

    • RadSat-u –  Montana State University – Bozeman
    • Phoenix –  Arizona State University – Tempe
    • SOCRATES  (Signal of Opportunity CubeSat Ranging and Timing ExperimentS) – University of Minnesota – Minneapolis
    • HuskySat-1 – University of Washington – Seattle
    • SwampSat II – University of Florida – Gainesville

The additional two CubeSats flying through CSLI are:

    • Argus-02 – St. Louis University – Missouri
    • HARP (Hyper Angular Rainbow Polarimeter) –  University of Maryland, Baltimore County – Baltimore and Utah State University – Logan

More about HARP: Tiny NASA satellite will soon see ‘rainbows’ in clouds | EurekAlert.

** 300 days operating in orbit for ZACube 2 research CubeSat built at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT): South African nanosatellites will track shipping, fires | The BRICS Post

A constellation of South African nanosatellites will be put in orbit next year to monitor shipping to prevent the poaching of marine resources such as abalone and sharks, while they will also track fires so ground-based personnel can move livestock out of harm’s way and prevent the spread of the fire.

The technology for this constellation is being proven right now as the ZACube 2 research nanosatellite from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) will log its 300th day in orbit on the 23rd October 2019. ZACube 1, also known as TshepisoSat, was launched on 21st November 2013 and is still communicating with the ground station.

The ZACube 2 satellite is performing well in orbit and proving the technology that the university has developed,” Professor Robert van Zyl, the Director of French South African Institute of Technology (FSATI) said.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-307 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • HuskySat Successfully Lifted into Space
  • ARISS Contact Opportunities – Call for Proposals
  • FoxTelem Version 1.08r Released
  • Fox-in-a-Box Upgrades for FoxTelem V 1.08
  • AMSAT Seeks Digital Communications Team Members
  • The 39th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference Announced September 11-13, 2020, Charlotte, NC
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for October 2019
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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