Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Aug.2.2020

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

** The annual Smallsat Conference hosted at Utah State University is on line this year due to the Covid-19 virus situation. Registration is free. Though the event is nominally August 1-6, there are dozens of videos of workshop and technical session presentations already on line.

Dr. Pat Patterson of Utah State University talked about the Conference for 2020 on The Space Show on July 21, 2020 :

** Villanova University has a new student  CubeSat Club. The group is starting out by running a locally developed CubeSat simulator, receiving signals from CubeSats in orbit, designing a test project for a high-altitude balloon flight, and more.

The club’s long-term goal involves a bigger leap: to design, build and launch an actual CubeSat—a 10-by-10-by-10-centimeter, lightweight nanosatellite that can be launched from a rocket, or put into orbit by astronauts on the ISS. But with design, equipment, programming, testing, and launch, CubeSat development can take several years and cost up to $100,000.

For now, club members are taking smaller steps towards their ultimate mission as they gain hands-on experience with satellite technology through a CubeSat simulator developed by faculty adviser Alan Johnston, PhD, associate teaching professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The low-cost simulator functions like a real CubeSat, with working solar panels and the capability to send telemetry to an antenna, making it an ideal learning tool.

Monitoring its Lindenblad antenna will keep Villanova’s CubeSat Club busy. First, they will design a payload to be launched into the stratosphere via a high-altitude balloon. If all goes well, the balloon’s telemetry will be detectable from the roof of Tolentine as it sails above Villanova. Also on tap is working with a project called AmbaSat-1: to program, launch and track a credit card-sized “sprite” satellite into low earth orbit.

The CubeSat simulator involves both software and a hardware CubeSat bench emulator. Here is a description of the simulator: A Year with the AMSAT CubeSat Simulator: 12 Months in the Classroom and Lab – A. Johnston, P. Kilroy (pdf). More information on CubeSat Simulator Project Page.

CubeSat model simulators.

** Student CubeSat project at the MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute. There are several CubeSat project videos available online. Here is a brief overview of the project that involved designing an system for imaging and tracking ocean plastic debris:

And here is an overview of the design that the students developed:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects:

ANS-208 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Partners with UMaine’s WiSe-Net Lab to Develop Maine’s First Small Satellite
  • AMSAT-UK Announces OSCAR Satellite QSO Party
  • JARL Announces FO-29 Operation Schedule for August
  • Christopher Brault, KD8YVJ, Named 2020 Newsline Young Ham of the Year
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Upcoming ARISS Contacts
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-215 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

  • ISS MAI-75 SSTV Activity Planned For Aug 4-5
  • AMSAT Awards Update
  • How Many Satellite Awards Have Been Issued?
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for August 2020
  • First Demonstration Of Orbit Control On A 1U CubeSat
  • Burns Fisher, WB1JF, Featured Speaker at AMSAT SA Symposium
  • NASA to Provide Coverage of Astronauts’ Return from ISS on SpaceX
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Cubesat MissionsMakua Lani Christian Academy – Designing a CubeSat for a particular mission goal.

** PLIX CubeSats Online: Week 2 Wrap-up Stream

Welcome to Week 2 of PLIX CubeSats Online! 🛰️ For the second session, we’ll be covering the Satellite Testing & Payload Integration workshop, which covers both satellite testing strategies and the incorporation of a data-collecting tool. Read more about the CubeSats activity on our PLIX Activity Repository:

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