Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup -April.24.2020

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

** Mexico university students to build CubeSat in collaboration with NanoAvionics and the Mexian Space Agency: NanoAvionics and Mexican Space Agency Introduce a Nanosatellite Pilot Project for Future Space Missions | NanoAvionics

Nanosatellite manufacturer and mission integrator NanoAvionics, together with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and students from the Polytechnic University of Atlacomulco will develop the first nanosatellite for the State of Mexico, (one of most important states of the country), the AtlaCom-1. Building the nanosatellite is part of a pilot project to establish a nanosatellite infrastructure for future space missions designed and built by Mexico’s youth.

The project, starting in September 2020, is a testimony to the importance of space applications enabled by nanosatellites, which are rapidly becoming essential to national economies. Together, the Mexican Space Agency, led by Dr. Salvador Landeros, appointed director general of AEM in 2019, and NanoAvionics are fostering the advanced skills that Mexican youth will need to bring the country’s space industry forward.

NanoAvionics’ engineers will share their space mission experience and help the students and faculty at the Polytechnic University of Atlacomulco to develop the ATLA-1. The company’s multi-purpose nanosatellite buses are pre-configured and pre-qualified, allowing mission teams to focus on their payloads. As a result, technology development missions can produce results quicker and satellite constellations can enter commercial service much faster. The project is further supported by the Mayor of Atlacomulco, Roberto Téllez-Monroy, an engineer with a passion for space technology.

** AzTechSat-1 was the first Mexican university student built CubeSat to reach orbit. See the posting here from last December about the project and a February post about the deployment of the satellite from the ISS.

The AzTechSat-1 mission is led by the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, or UPAEP, in Puebla, Mexico. It is providing students and professors an opportunity to lead and participate in their first spaceflight mission. The multidisciplinary team of students at UPAEP was mentored by engineers and project managers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. They learned to use NASA methodologies for spaceflight project management and systems engineering. The students designed, built, tested and delivered a flight-certified CubeSat.

Communications were establish with AzTechSat-1 after its deployment. The primary mission for the satellite is to demonstrate satellite-to-satellite communications by contacting a GlobalStar satellite.

“Jose Cortez of NASA Ames (left) and Joel Contreras of UPAEP (right), conduct final integration of AzTechSat-1 into the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) in preparation for launch to the International Space Station. Credits: NASA”

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-110AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • ARRL, AMSAT Seek Changes in FCC Orbital Debris Mitigation Proposals
  • House Committee Leaders Request FCC Delay Rulemaking on Space Debris
  • 3D Printed Cubesat Simulator Frame Design Posted
  • New OSCAR T-Shirt Available from AMSAT Zazzle Store
  • Receiving SMOG-P and ATL-1 Nano Satellites With an RTL-SDR
  • Commercial Blogs Feature Introductions to Satellite Operations
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Low cost CubeSat design:

Why are CubeSats / Cube Satellites so expensive? Entry level 1U satellites for basic science missions often cost at least $10 or $20K, and I figure that they shouldn’t, given how cheap consumer electronics are. 2U / 3U and above satellites are even more expensive, not to mention the much much larger launch cost. Is the high cost justified by the unique operating environment and market demand for CubeSats?

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