Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Oct.12.2020

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

** University of Hawaiʻi student-built Neutron-1 CubeSat reaches the  International Space Station (ISS): UH satellite to collect neutrons in space – University of Hawaiʻi System News

Diagram of the Neutron-1 CubeSat. Credits: Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL)

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo vessel berthed to the ISS on October 5th after launching on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island on October 2nd. The Cygnus NG-14 mission carried roughly four tons of cargo, including Neutron-1 and several other smallsats for deployment into orbit from the station. Neutron-1 holds instruments to measure neutrons in space, particularly those coming from the Sun.

Through the 2015 RockSat-X mission, Kauaʻi Community CollegeWindward Community CollegeHonolulu Community College and Kapiʻolani Community College were also involved with the development of this mission. The Project IMUA community college collaboration led to the development of a functioning neutron detector, however it was lost during a suborbital test launch from Wallops Flight Facility. This set back the project until Arizona State University (ASU) became a collaborator on this mission by providing the neutron detector in 2018.

“Neutron-1 is a 3U CubeSat [small satellite],” said Amber Imai-Hong, an avionics engineer at HSFL and ground station coordinator for the Neutron-1 mission. “It’s approximately the size of a loaf of bread and the data gathered by the satellite will be used to understand the relationship between the Earth and the Sun by mapping neutrons in the low-earth orbit.”

Neutron-1 is launching on a rideshare mission, which includes other satellites, and will be in space for approximately one year. UH delivered the small satellite to NanoRacks, LLC in Houston, Texas on August 20.

** CSFU students developing a satellite to study wildfires: Students Fired Up to Develop Miniature Satellite to Fight Wildfires – Cal State Fullerton Univ. A group of undergraduates at Cal State Fullerton

are designing, manufacturing and building a cube-shaped, miniaturized satellite, known as a CubeSat, to observe Earth from space to predict and detect fires. The data captured is used to detect areas of risk — to put out fires before a blaze even starts.

“This year’s fire season has been particularly harmful. With the onset of climate change, we need to utilize tools such as satellites to study Earth and try to predict and prevent natural disasters,” said senior Patrick Babb, a mechanical engineering major who is leading the team project.

The 10-member student team is developing a prototype, dubbed “TitanSat,” which incorporates infrared cameras and solar power to monitor Earth’s climate and detect hot and dry zones that pose a wildfire risk. 

** Updates on the UAE MeznSat CubeSat recently launched in to orbit on a Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket along with 18 other smallsats. (See previous posts here, here, here, and here.)

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

ANS-271 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin – September 27, 2020

  • 2020 Virtual AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting [See also AMSAT 2020 Virtual Symposium schedule announced – Southgate Amateur Radio News]
  • Reminder: Current AMSAT Journal is available on Member Portal
  • AMSAT-DL Online Symposium
  • AMSAT-UK Convention
  • ARRL LOTW new user guide
  • AMSAT Field Day Results for 2020 have been posted
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

ANS-278 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin – October 4, 2020

  • Virtual AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting – October 17
  • AMSAT-UK Colloquium Online – October 11
  • ARISS Worldwide SSTV Event – October 4-8
  • Happy 27th Birthday, AMRAD-OSCAR 27
  • FCC Deletes 3.4 GHz Amateur Satellite Service Allocation
  • Chinese Amateur Radio Satellite Launches Delayed
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for October 2020
  • Message to US Educators: ARISS Contact Opportunity – Call For Proposals
  • Changes to AMSAT TLE Distribution for October 1, 2020
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • AMSAT Awards News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-285 – AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin – October 11, 2020

  • AMSAT 2020 Virtual Symposium Schedule Announced
  • UH Satellite Successfully Blasts into Space
  • ARISS to Celebrate 20 Years of Ham Radio on the ISS
  • IARU Region 2 Releases 2020 Band Plan Revision
  • Two More Astronauts Earn Amateur Radio Licenses
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** SEDS-Canada x Canadian CubeSat Project PanelSEDS-Canada

** BWSI Build A CubeSat Final PresentationsMIT Beaver Works Summer Institute

Caution: portions of the audio are difficult to hear
Build a CubeSat – Sierra Nevada Corp. Project Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students the opportunity to design, build, and test a prototype CubeSat. Students will explore all the major subsystems of a satellite and get hands on experience with mechanical, electrical, and software engineering. The class will use these new skills to demonstrate a real CubeSat science mission in partnership with scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
– Introduction by Jack Fox
– Presentations
Buzz Lightyear
Team Oddsat
BYJ Cube
Rubble Space Telescope
– Q&A

** 84- Microsoft Azure Orbital, Ground Station as a Service, and Dynamic GroundConstellations Podcast

On this Constellations podcast, the focus will be on Microsoft’s recent announcement of their Ground Station as a Service (GSaaS) offering “Azure Orbital” and what it means for the satellite industry. Azure Orbital is Microsoft’s managed service that is designed to deal with the growing flood of data for Earth Observation and Internet of Things applications. The managed service lets users communicate to, control their satellite, process data and scale operations directly in Microsoft Azure. Microsoft’s GSaaS takes a very different approach compared to traditional ground systems. Azure Orbital leverages key technologies such as virtualization, Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and cloud computing to enable customers to automate and scale operations across the globe. On this podcast Nora Zhan, Product Manager for Microsoft discusses Azure Orbital. She is involved in Azure Space, Satellites and Ground Stations and in bringing this new platform to market to provide satellite connectivity.

** The Open Source Satellite ProgrammeBritish Computer Society Open Source Specialists

Presented by Paul Madle Over the last 25 years, the UK has brought positive disruptions to the space industry. The University of Surrey innovated small spacecraft: leveraging Commercial-Off-The-Shelf components that could compete with larger more traditionally designed spacecraft. In the last 7 years, Scottish CubeSats (very small satellites) have grown from academic projects into commercially viable products performing earth observation and other applications. Both of these innovations have brought down costs and made space more accessible to greater numbers of people. KIPSE Space Systems aspires to be a catalyst for the next step-change to the industry by collaboratively designing a new, capable spacecraft platform that is open source, all design being freely accessible through the internet.

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