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Student Cubesats Released from Space Station
this a cool photo or what? Shown are three student-built Cubesats being
deployed from the end of the International Space Station's (ISS) robotic
arm. The shape of the launch mechanism reminds me of a 3-pin, single
row Molex or Amp (like used on you PC's hard drive) power connector.
CubeSat Project is an international collaboration of over 40 universities,
high schools, and private firms developing picosatellites containing
scientific, private, and government payloads. A CubeSat is a 10 cm cube
with a mass of up to 1.33 kg. Developers benefit from the sharing of
information within the community. Resources are available by communicating
directly with other developers and attending CubeSat workshops."
NASA is beginning to receive confirmation
Cubesat research satellites, including the first developed by high
school students, that were launched into space Tuesday night from the
Virginia coast are operating as planned.
The Cubesats were included
as auxiliary payloads aboard a U.S. Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket that
lifted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops
Flight Facility at 8:15 p.m. EST. The Cubesats, NASA's fourth Educational
Launch of Nanosatellite (ELaNa) mission, deployed from their protective
cases into Earth's orbit about 20 minutes after liftoff.
miniature satellites come online, the teams responsible for them are
beginning to receive signals. Although it could take several more days
for full confirmation, all of the Cubesats appear to be doing well in
their new home in low-Earth orbit. The teams are responsible for confirming
activation and normal operations of the Cubesats.
Three nanosatellites, known as Cubesats,
are deployed from a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD)
attached to the Kibo laboratory's robotic arm at 7:10 a.m. (EST)
on Nov. 19, 2013. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut
Koichi Wakata, Expedition 38 flight engineer, monitored the
satellite deployment while operating the Japanese robotic arm
from inside Kibo. The Cubesats were delivered to the International
Space Station Aug. 9, aboard Japan's fourth H-II Transfer Vehicle,
''Cubesats offer our best and brightest young minds the opportunity
to discover the excitement of space exploration while confronting the
tough technology and engineering challenges surrounding spaceflight,"
said Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for education in
Washington. "By opening the space frontier to a new generation of scientists
and engineers, we encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics."
Cubesats are a class of research
spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure
about 4 inches on each side, have a volume of about 1 quart and weigh
less than 3 pounds. Cubesat research addresses science, exploration,
technology development, education or space missions.
of the cubesat community are enabling an acceleration of flight-qualified
technology that will ripple through the aerospace industry," said Jason
Crusan, director of NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems Division, which
oversees the CubeSat Launch Initiative. "Our future missions will be
standing on the developments the Cubesat community has enabled."
Cubesats from nine universities, a NASA center and a high school
were launched. The TJ3Sat from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science
and Technology of Alexandria, Va., contains a voice synthesizer module
that will take written phrases in the form of code and produce a phonetic
voice reading on the satellite's downlink frequencies. TJ3Sat is the
first NASA-sponsored Cubesat developed by high school students.
Also sent into orbit was PhoneSat 2.4, a second-generation smartphone
Cubesat mission sponsored by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate.
Phonesat 2.4 will test the smartphone's capability as communication
technology for nanosatellites and as hardware to manage pointing, taking
images and software execution. PhoneSat 2.4 has several improvements
over the previous mission, including a two-way radio to enable command
of the satellite from the ground, solar arrays to enable it to be operational
for up to a year, and a system for attitude control.
300 students from the following institutions were involved in preparing
the 11 Cubesats:
Thomas Jefferson High School
Drexel University, Philadelphia, in collaboration with the United
States Naval Academy
NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
St. Louis University, St. Louis
University of Alabama, Huntsville, Ala.
University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
University of Hawaii, Honolulu
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., in collaboration with
Morehead State University, Morehead, Ky.
The University of Louisiana, Lafayette, La.
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.
Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center, Vt.
The launch also marks the first flight of the Nanosatellite Launch Adapter
System (NLAS), a satellite deployment system built by Ames. NLAS is
capable of carrying approximately 100 pounds of secondary payloads into
orbit, and can accommodate various configurations of Cubesats.
ELaNa missions, conducted under NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative,
give students, teachers and faculty hands-on experience developing flight
hardware by providing access to a low-cost avenue for research. Since
its inception in 2010, the CubeSat Launch Initiative has selected more
than 90 Cubesats from primarily educational and government institutions
around the United States. NASA chose these miniature satellites from
respondents to public announcements for the agency's CubeSat Launch
Initiative. NASA has a current call for proposals due Nov. 26.