Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Sept.9.2020

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

** USC student team comes out on top in AIAA smallsat competition: USC Wins First Place in the AIAA Small Satellite Student Competition – USC Viterbi School of Engineering

A team of students from the USC Laboratory for Exploration and Astronautical Physics (LEAP), including Robert Antypas and Jeffrey Asher, doctoral students in the Viterbi Department of Astronautical Engineering. The students are working to optimize the design of ionic electrospray thrusters, in-space propulsion devices, in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). These thrusters are small, light and powerful, easy to construct and customizable. These unique aspects contributed to the team winning first place in the AIAA Small Satellite Poster Competition. The students were supervised by Joseph Wang, professor of astronautics and aerospace and mechanical engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Said Asher: “Unlike traditional electric or chemical propulsion technologies, these thrusters are able to scale linearly with the area by increasing the number of emission sites.” In other words, you can increase the level of thrust outputted by increasing the number of emitter tips on the device, a feature not currently possible on other types of propulsion technologies.

Major components of the USC electrospray testbed thruster. Image Credits: Jeffrey Asher.

“The ionic electrospray thruster the team created is an electrostatic propulsion device that operates by extracting and accelerating ions from the propellant using an electric field. The ion extraction is aided by the thruster’s use of a novel liquid propellant, called an ionic liquid. This liquid is highly conductive and freely “gives up” its charge when exposed to an electric field. It also has extremely low vapor pressure, so that it can withstand being directly exposed to the vacuum conditions of space without evaporating.” – USC

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

ANS-243 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Member David Minster, NA2AA, Elected ARRL CEO
  • Jeanette Epps, KF5QNU, Joins Starliner Mission To ISS
  • ANS Editors Wanted
  • CubeSat Challenge Seeks To Inspire, Prepare Students
  • Amateur License Fee Proposal From FCC
  • AO-92 (FOX-1D) Reverting to Safe Mode
  • GRBAlpha Frequency Coordination Completed
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

ANS-250 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • ARISS First Element of the Interoperable Radio System is Operational
  • FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Proposal open for comment
  • Successful Vega Mission Launches the Amicalsat Project Satellite
  • TEVEL Mission Nears Projected Launch Date
  • Changes to the AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for September 3, 2020
  • VUCC Satellite Awards and Endorsements
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Autonomous deep-space CubeSat: where we are and where we are going – GVWI (The Global Virtual Workshop I – Stardust-R)

** Educational webinars – Session A – Build a Cubesat from scratchSatRevolution

SatRevolution is happy to invite you to a series of informational sessions (only 30 minutes long!), organized by our team and the team of our partners. This webinars has been recorded during Small Sat Conference 2020 this is way session is different in title and during webinars record. For more infromation please visit our website:

** Ask NMD Episode 1 – Guest, Prof. Jordi Puig-SuariNanosatellite Missions Design

Prof Jordi Puig-Suari is a professor and an aerospace technology developer. He is the co-inventor of the CubeSat standard, and co-founder of Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems. Prof. Jordi answered 2 questions from the many questions you asked us. The questions were “How did Cubesats begin” and “What is the relationship and collaboration between robotics, AI, software and space exploration”.

** SmallSat Mesh Networking – SmallSat 2020 Webinar – TethersUnlimited – YouTube

** Leveraging the Success of the CubeSat Standard to Create a SmallSat Standard for ESPA SpacecraftEnrico Congiu – YouTube

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