Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Apr.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):

** Univ. of Michigan to  lead SunRISE multi-cubesat mission selected by NASA to study solar storms by detecting radio waves that precede coronal mass ejections: ‘Largest radio telescope in space’ to improve solar storm warnings – The Michigan Engineer News Center

The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, or SunRISE, consists of miniature satellites called cubesats that form a “virtual telescope” in space to detect and study the radio waves that precede major solar events. The waves can’t be detected on Earth’s surface due to interference from the region of Earth’s upper atmosphere known as the ionosphere. 

SunRISE, expected to launch in 2023, will offer a never-seen-before glimpse at what goes on in the area above the sun’s surface, the sola

The virtual telescope formed by the cubesats is illustrated in this video:

From the caption:

The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) is expected to launch in 2023. The project is led by University of Michigan climate and space sciences and engineering professor Justin Kasper. The team will deploy miniature satellites, called cubesats, that form a “virtual telescope” in space to detect and study the radio waves that precede major solar events. This is will greatly improve our solar storm warning system. SunRISE is a $62 million project, one of NASA’s Missions of Opportunity. $5 million will go to U-M for its science team and operating costs while the rest will be used for launch. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will manage the mission. Space Dynamics Laboratory, a non-profit research corporation, is the other major partner that will build the spacecraft.

See also:

** An update on the Univ. of Washington HuskySat-1 CubeSat in orbit: The first cube satellite made by [UW] students makes it to space –

HuskySat-1. Credits: Husky Satellite Lab at the Univ. Washington

Just last November, students worked to launch a loaf of bread into space; that is, a satellite the size of a loaf of bread.

The UW’s Husky Satellite Lab successfully launched the HuskySat-1 (HS-1), a cube satellite, into space Nov. 2, 2019. This initiative was started about four years ago by two graduate students: Paige Northway and Paul Sturmer.

Space development is not anything new to the UW, but HS-1 is the first cube satellite to be launched by a university from Washington state.

The Husky Satellite Lab’s mission was related to demonstrating a pulsed plasma thruster and a high-frequency communications system. Beyond that, Sturmer pointed out the huge success of being able to launch and have a working satellite.

According to Sturmer, the initial project was made up of over 50 students — mostly undergraduate students — who did the actual engineering, prototyping, and testing. Sturmer acted as the technical lead and product manager.

Members of the Husky Satellite Lab have now put their focus on other projects, such as the Miniature Microgravity Electroplating Experiment (MiniMEE) and the Platform for High Altitude Testing 2 (PHAT-2).

Several Roundups have mentioned HuskySat-1.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-089 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Sean Kutzko, KX9X, Appointed AMSAT Volunteer Coordinator
  • AMSAT Office Closed Until Further Notice
  • First Satellite Contact to be Noted in May QST
  • Amateur Radio Satellite Spreads Fight Coronavirus Message
  • Ham Talk Live! Interviews Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
  • ISS Crew Transition Affected by CoViD-19
  • Upcoming ARISS Contacts
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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Videos: Night sky highlights for April 2020

** What’s Up: April 2020 Skywatching Tips from NASANASA JPL

What are some astronomy highlights in the sky in April 2020? This month, Venus visits the Pleiades; Mars, Jupiter and Saturn begin their breakup; and we ask, “What is the Moon illusion?” Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What’s Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at…

** Tonight’s Sky: AprilSpace Telescope Science Institute

Clear April nights are filled with starry creatures. Near the Big Dipper, you will find several interesting binary stars. You can also spot galaxies like the Pinwheel Galaxy, M82, and M96—the last of which is an asymmetric galaxy that may have been gravitationally disrupted by encounters with its neighbors. Keep watching for space-based views of these celestial objects.

** What’s in the Night Sky April 2020Alyn Wallace

** What to see in the night sky: April 2020BBC Sky at Night Magazine

Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel guide us through April’s stargazing highlights.

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