Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Nov.12.2019

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

** The Phoenix CubeSat built by Arizona State Univ. students successfully reached the ISS via the recent launch of the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft. It will be deployed into orbit in January: ASU Students Launch NASA-Funded CubeSat To Study Urban Heat Island – KJZZ

ASU Phoenix CubeSat team

Students from Arizona State University have launched a small, NASA-funded research satellite to study the urban heat island in seven U.S. cities, including Phoenix.

The Phoenix CubeSat is one of seven nanosatellites selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, which supports projects designed, built and operated by students, teachers and faculty, as well as NASA centers and nonprofit organizations.

An interdisciplinary group of around 100 ASU undergraduates took part in the effort, which will use an off-the-shelf thermal infrared camera to study changes in the heat properties of cities across the U.S. over time.

The term “urban heat island” describes an urban area that experiences warmer conditions than its surroundings due to human activities, the thermal properties of building materials and other related factors.

** Univ. Minnesota SOCRATES smallsat reaches the ISS on the same Cygnus.

The cube satellite, Signal Opportunity CubeSat Ranging and Timing Experiment System (SOCRATES), is the first small satellite created by the University sent into space by NASA. The satellite is equipped with high energy X-ray sensor detectors that can help with “deep space navigation” when GPS is not available. SOCRATES will also collect data related to electronic accelerations in sun flares to help research on solar anomalies.

The project is a collaboration between University faculty and students of different disciplines, like aerospace engineering, physics and astrophysics. SOCRATES is currently on the International Space Station and is expected to be released back into Earth’s orbit in January 2020.

See also

** India sponsoring competition for high school student CubeSat projects to fly on high altitude balloon:

The National Design and Research Forum (NDRF) has invited student teams from high schools across the country to take part in its National Space Challenge 2020 contest of flying small or cube satellites on a balloon.

Teams of five students from class 8 to class 12 can send in innovative proposals by November 25, the Bengaluru-based engineering research and development promotion body said in a release.

** EdgeCube built by students at Sonoma State, Santa Clara Univ., and Morerhead State to go to ISS on upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 Cargo Dragon mission: Cube satellite built by SSU students set to orbit earth and collect data on vegetation health | SSU News

A student-built satellite about twice the size of a Rubik’s Cube has passed a series of tests to travel to space this December as part of a NASA-funded project involving three universities including Sonoma State. Built in partnership with Santa Clara University and Morehead State University in Kentucky, the “EdgeCube” satellite is scheduled to fly aboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket on its way to the International Space Station. From there it will be boosted into orbit 500 kilometers above the Earth to collect data on vegetation health in ecosystems around the globe.

** “Are CubeSats the future of space exploration” – TMRO.tv program about CubeSats.

This week Kevin DeBruin, Author of ‘To NASA and BEYOND: Perseverance to Achieve the Impossible [Amazon ad commission link]‘, talks about lessons from AeroCube-10, TeamXc at JPL and the use of CubeSats for outreach and education. Do you think CubeSats are the future of space exploration or are they better suited to education/student purposes?

**  TEPCE (Tether Electrodynamics Propulsion CubeSat Experiment) to test electrodynamic tether propulsion for CubeSats: A Space Tether May Solve Space Debris Problem | Asgardia – The Space Nation.

Built at the U.S. NRL (Navel Research Laboratory), the smallsat was launched on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy last June. The spacecraft is expected to soon separate into two parts connected by the 1 kilometer long tether.

Electrodynamic propulsion works on electromagnetic principles similar to an electric motor. The magnetic field in an electric motor attracts an electric current that flows through the windings of the armature causing the armature to spin. In space, the Earth has a naturally occurring magnetic field and for TEPCE, the tether wire serves the purpose of the armature. By inducing an electric current to flow along the tether, a mutual attraction between the Earth’s magnetic field and the tether will occur. This electromagnetic attraction can propel TEPCE to higher altitudes or to change the orientation of its orbit.

“U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Tether Electrodynamic Propulsion CubeSat Experiment‘s CubeSat split into two and connected by a tether.” Credits: Cameron Crippa/U.S. NRL.

More at

** HEPTA-Sat program teaches Smallsat engineering to students around the world:

HEPTA-Sat (Hands-on Education Program for Technical Advancement) is a hands-on study of small satellite design and engineering over several days of intensive practical lessons. HEPTA-Sat hand-on course puts it focus on establishing the knowledge of system engineering by going through the whole process of system integration. During the course student will learn how the system is broken down into different subsystem (requirement), how to integrate those different subsystem (requirement) into a fully functioning system, and how to test/debug it once it has been integrated. HEPTA-Sat teaching methods are designed to be implemented in existing universities anywhere. The program is supported by a vibrant instructor community and is open to people of any educational or professional background.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-314 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • HuskySat Paving the Way for Cooperation
  • WRC-19 Debates Satellite Allocations
  • Electron Booster on the Pad for Rocket Lab’s 10th Mission
  • 2020 Cubesat Developers Workshop Call for Papers
  • Second Batch of 50th Anniversary “Friends of 50” Certificates Sent
  • AMSAT Seeks Digital Communications Team Members
  • NO-83 (BRICSAT-P) Nears Re-Entry
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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