Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Sept.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):

** Western University (Canada) and Arizona State teams to collaborate on CubeSat project:

[On Sept. 23rd] …Western signed a game-changing memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the MILO Institute, a non-profit research collaboration led by Arizona State University and supported by Lockheed Martin and its subsidiary GEOshare.

As part of the agreement, [Electrical and computer engineering professor Jayshri] Sabarinathan and her Western Space collaborators will contribute a one-unit CubeSat (a square-shaped miniature satellite roughly the size of a Rubik’s cube) to a MILO Institute and University of Texas at El Paso flight mission planned for June 2021 – an aggressive timeline, she admits, but that just adds to the excitement.

The project will contribute to development of technology for lunar and other deep space exploration.

Sabarinathan is also leading the Western Institute of Earth & Space Exploration team in another CubeSat project:

For the past two years, Sabarinathan and her team have been designing, developing and constructing a CubeSat with research partners at Nunavut Arctic College and Canadensys Aerospace Corporation, scheduled for launch in 2022. Ukpik-1, a two-unit CubeSat project outfitted with 360-degree imaging VR cameras and funded by the Canadian Space Agency, will fly to the International Space Station in two years. Next summer’s ‘bonus’ launch provides the team with an unexpected – but most-opportune – test run for its endeavour.

** Imperial College group delivers miniature magnetometer instrument for ESA RadCube mission to study the solar wind: Imperial completes new space mission instrument despite lockdown challenges – Imperial College London

The RadCube mission is designed to test new technologies for monitoring space weather – the variations in the solar wind coming from the Sun, which can disrupt and damage satellites and infrastructure on Earth.

RadCube is a ‘cubesat’ mission, which are designed to use smaller, cheaper and lower-power components than traditional space missions. The technologies in RadCube, if proven to work well in space, could be used in a range of future missions, such as constellations of multiple cubesats working together to measure the solar wind. CubeSat spacecraft are typically constructed upon multiples of 10 × 10 × 10 cm cubes, and RadCube is made up of three of these base units.

Imperial academics and technicians from the Department of Physics this week delivered a miniature magnetometer to the project in Hungary – an instrument that measures the interactions between the Earth’s magnetic field and that carried by the solar wind, which is a major component of space weather monitoring.

Rendering of the RadCube satellite. The MAGIC instrument sits on the end of the boom at the bottom. Credits: Imperial College

The individual detectors on their instrument – called MAGIC (MAGnetometer from Imperial College) – are less than a millimetre in size, and the total instrument sensor is only four centimetres cubed. This is in comparison to the sophisticated magnetometers the lab builds for large and expensive space missions, such as the recent Solar Orbiter mission and the upcoming JUICE mission, which are much larger and weigh a couple of kilograms.

The MAGIC instrument also uses less than a watt of power, compared to up to 20 watts for the larger instruments. While MAGIC is not as sensitive as these larger instruments, as it is much cheaper to build and uses far less power, the technology could be carried on several spacecraft working in tandem. In this way, the lower-quality data is compensated by a much larger volume of data.

The MAGIC (MAGnetometer from Imperial College) for the RadCube spacecraft. Credits: Imperial College

** Update on the UAE MeznSat student satellite: Mini satellite developed by UAE students to launch this month – The National

A miniature satellite developed by university students in the UAE to observe the country’s climate will launch later this month.

MeznSat was funded by the UAE Space Agency and built by engineering and science students at the Khalifa University and American University of Ras Al Khaimah (Aurak).

MeznSat’s initial lift-off was scheduled for the end of 2019, however it was delayed twice and will now blast into the skies on a Soyuz-2b rocket from Russia on September 28.

It is the third miniature satellite – known as a CubeSat – constructed in the Emirates.

See previous postings about the MeznSat project here, here, and here.

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

ANS-257 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Virtual 2020 AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting on October 17, 2020
  • AMSAT Virtual Symposium Call for Papers
  • Preparations Continue for World Radiocommunication Conference 2023
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for September 10, 2020
  • AMSAT-DL Announces Virtual Satellite Symposium September 26, 2020
  • AMSAT-UK Announces Colloquium 2020 October 11, 2020
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-264 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Board of Directors Elections Results
  • July/August AMSAT Journal Is Now Available
  • RAC Canada 2020 Conference and AGM is this Sunday
  • AO-7 Approaching Return To Full Illumination
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution
  • Ham Radio Club Talk Collection On YouTube
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Sierra Foothills ARC August 2020: Cubesats! The story of the ASU Phoenix Cubesat project

The Sierra Foothills ARC was privileged to have Devon KM6MDG and Trevor KM6MDH talk about their work on the Phoenix Cubesat, AzTechSat-1. The two are graduate students at Arizona State University, and were involved with the program from shortly after conception, through deployment from the International Space Station, to operation afterward. In their talk, they review the objectives of the satellite, talk about its construction and their roles and challenges, and detail its current status.

** Welcome to the Space and Satellite Systems Club [at UC Davis]

The Space and Satellite Systems Club at UC Davis is the premiere space-based engineering club on campus. Our efforts are focused towards developing the skills and technical know-how necessary to design spacecraft by developing, manufacturing, and launching a CubeSat mission to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). The club focuses on technologies for smaller spacecraft and cube satellites and covers a wide range of research areas from controls and dynamics to sensors, electronics and software. We are currently set to launch our first CubeSat (REALOP) later in 2021. This mission will be a technical demonstration of our in-house developed bus and technological components, the payload on the will serve as an earth sciences mission that will utilize IR and RGB cameras to study the thermal activity of the Earth’s atmosphere from LEO.

** The MILO Space Science Institute: Enabling New, Science-Focused Deep Space Smallsat MissionsThe Global Virtual Workshop I – Stardust-R

** ISS International Space Station Cross Band FM RepeaterTech Minds

Here we take a look at the brand new FM Repeater on board the International Space Station, launched on the 2nd September 2020.

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