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First CubeSat Built By An Elementary School Deployed

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/stm-studentbuild.jpg"In 2012, the students from St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia lined up in the shape of a space shuttle in the school parking lot and witnessed the flyover of the Space Shuttle Discovery as it was being retired to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This awe-inspiring vision was an inspiration to the entire school and a catalyst for them to literally reach for the stars. Thus beginning their quest to build a small satellite, called a CubeSat, that would engage students around the world in Earth observations. Over the next three years, all 400 pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students participated in the design, construction and testing of their small satellite. Through this hands-on, inquiry based learning activity the students conducted real-world engineering and will operate the St. Thomas More (STM)Sat-1, the first CubeSat built by elementary school students to be deployed in space."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/ula.cubesat.jpg"Applications are now open for U.S. colleges and universities to compete for free CubeSat rides on United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rockets. ULA, the nation's most experienced launch company, has successfully launched 106 missions, including 55 CubeSats, with 100 percent mission success. Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems, Inc., will provide no-cost access to space for selected science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) CubeSat customers for rideshares on ULA's Atlas V launch vehicle, as well as low-cost access to space for commercial and U.S. government CubeSat customers. CubeSat competition applications, available at www.ulalaunch.com/cubesats.aspx, are due June 1, 2016, and winning schools will be announced during the summer. The cubesat competition is open to all U.S. accredited colleges and universities, which are encouraged to team or perform outreach with K-12 schools to further expand these opportunities throughout the STEM community. Other judging criteria for university proposals include technical requirements, mission objective and ability to meet their development schedule. Senior personnel from ULA and Tyvak will be on the selection committee."

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Mark Watney Is Alive And Well - In Togo

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/3d-printer-e-waste-Inventor.jpgWest African Inventor Makes 3D Printer from E-Waste, Inhabitat

"Kodjo Afate Gnikou, a resourceful inventor from Togo in West Africa, has made a $100 3D printer which he constructed from parts he scrounged from broken scanners, computers, printers and other e-waste. The fully functional DIY printer cost a fraction of those currently on the market, and saves environmentally damaging waste from reaching landfill sites. ... Gnikou is part of WoeLab, a hackerspace in the city of Lomé, and has big plans for his recycling project. According to his crowd funding page, he is working with FacLab-France in the WAFATE to Mars project, which aims to make machines from recycled e-waste to prepare for missions on Mars. Systems like the 3D printer could become a crucial part of missions on the Red Planet should they ever go ahead."

Second-Round Prizes in Cube Quest Challenge Awarded

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/cubequest.jpg"NASA has awarded $30,000 each to the five top-scoring teams that competed in the latest segment of the agency's small satellite Cube Quest competition. Cube Quest is a $5 million challenge that requires teams to design, build and deliver flight-qualified CubeSats capable of advanced operations near and beyond the moon. It is part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, which engages the public to compete to solve challenges that will benefit the agency and the nation. Cube Quest comprises of two phases: ground tournament and in-space tournaments, or derbies. The Ground Tournaments serve as progress checks, and are held every six months, leading to an opportunity to be selected as one of three allocated slots on NASA's Orion capsule's first unmanned lunar flyby, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), planned for launch in 2018."

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TshepisoSAT, Africa's First Nanosatellite

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Promising cubes in space, YouTube, TEDxTableMountain

"What does it mean to democratize space? How can Africa take part in the immense opportunities that miniature satellites (CubeSats) represent? With his characteristic dry sense of humour, Prof van Zyl tells the story of TshepisoSAT, Africa's first nanosatellite - built by his team of students and CPUT staff and launched in November 2013. Overseeing a satellite programme that truly represents Africa serves as a unique platform to further the socio-economic development of Africa. To this end, Prof van Zyl has established the international African CubeSat programme and workshop series to provide an innovation and developmental forum."

Spotlight TEDx Talk: A mission to launch African nanosatellites

"Right now, a satellite only 10 cm wide and 10 cm tall circles our planet around 15 times a day, in flight thanks to a group of students at the French South African Institute of Technology in Cape Town. The tiny satellite, named "TshepisoSat" for the seSotho word for "hope and promise," has been in orbit for over two years, taking photos of the Earth and collecting data on radio waves in the ionosphere."

We introduce the Lee Sang Gak Telescope (LSGT), a remotely operated, robotic 0.43-meter telescope. The telescope was installed at the Siding Spring Observatory, Australia, in 2014 October, to secure regular and exclusive access to the dark sky and excellent atmospheric conditions in the southern hemisphere from the Seoul National University (SNU) campus. Here, we describe the LSGT system and its performance, present example images from early observations, and discuss a future plan to upgrade the system. The use of the telescope includes (i) long-term monitoring observations of nearby galaxies, active galactic nuclei, and supernovae; (ii) rapid follow-up observations of transients such as gamma-ray bursts and gravitational wave sources; and (iii) observations for educational activities at SNU. Based on observations performed so far, we find that the telescope is capable of providing images to a depth of R=21.5 mag (point source detection) at 5-sigma with 15 min total integration time under good observing conditions.

A Michelson-type Radio Interferometer for University Education

We report development of a simple and affordable radio interferometer suitable as an educational laboratory experiment. With the increasing importance of interferometry in astronomy, the lack of educational interferometers is an obstacle to training the future generation of astronomers. This interferometer provides the hands-on experience needed to fully understand the basic concepts of interferometry. The design of this interferometer is based on the Michelson & Pease stellar optical interferometer, but operates at a radio wavelength (~11 GHz; ~2.7cm); thus the requirement for optical accuracy is much less stringent. We utilize a commercial broadcast satellite dish and feedhorn. Two flat side mirrors slide on a ladder, providing baseline coverage. This interferometer resolves and measures the diameter of the Sun, a nice daytime experiment which can be carried out even in marginal weather (i.e., partial cloud cover). Commercial broadcast satellites provide convenient point sources for comparison to the Sun's extended disk. We describe the mathematical background of the adding interferometer, the design and development of the telescope and receiver system, and measurements of the Sun. We present results from a students' laboratory report.

NASA Early Stage Innovations Space Technology Research Grants

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/15-227.jpg "NASA has selected 15 university-led proposals for the study of innovative, early stage technologies that address high priority needs of America's space program. The Early Stage Innovations awards from NASA's Space Technology Research Grants Program are worth as much as $500,000 each. Universities have two to three years to work on their proposed research and development projects. The proposals selected under the Early Stage Innovations 2015 solicitation address unique, disruptive or transformational technologies, including: payload technologies for assistive free-flyers; robotic mobility technologies for the surfaces of icy moons; integrated photonics for space optical communication; computationally guided structural nanomaterials design; and atmospheric entry modeling development using flight data from the Orion's first flight test in space last December called Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1)."

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NASA Solicitation: Cubesat-scale Solar Sail for Space Propulsion

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/solarsail1.jpg "A cubesat-scale solar sail propulsion system is being developed at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to provide propulsion for a 6U interplanetary cubesat to be used for the Near Earth Asteroid Scout (NEAS) project. NEA Scout will fly on the Space Launch System (SLS) Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) mission scheduled for launch in 2018 and is being developed in collaboration with NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/morgan.jpg "A fleet of cubesats intent on advancing technology development, scientific research, and educational outreach recently hitched a ride into low Earth orbit (LEO). Through the Government Rideshare Advanced Concepts Experiment (GRACE), the National Reconnaissance Office's (NRO) L-55 mission included an auxiliary payload of 13 small research satellites, four of which were sponsored by NASA and nine by the NRO. The four NASA cubesats were selected through the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and were part of the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program."

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Cubes In Space Program

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/cubes.jpg "idoodlelearning inc., a global education company that prepares students to become 21st century learners, workers, and citizens by bridging the gap between traditional and digital learning, announced today a partnership with Colombia based Ideatech, for the addition of a high altitude balloon component to the 2016 Cubes in Space™ STE[A]M design competition for students. A STE[A]M-based global education program open to students ages 11-18, Cubes in Space provides students a no-cost opportunity to design and compete to launch an experiment into space. Utilizing formal or informal learning environments, students and educators are exposed to engaging content and activities in preparation for the design and development of an experimental payload to be integrated into a small cube (Cube). These Cubes will be launched on a high altitude balloon by Ideatech from a facility in Medellin, Colombia in May 2016. Another flight opportunity will be launched into space via sounding rocket from NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA in late June 2016."

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More ESA Student CubeSats Preparing for Space

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/OUFTI-1.jpg"While waiting for the first ESA student CubeSat to be deployed from the International Space Station at the beginning of October, the three Fly Your Satellite! CubeSats candidate for rocket launch are completing their environmental test campaign. During the past few months, the student satellites had to pass a number of tests in order to make sure they would be able to perform properly in the harsh conditions encountered during launch and in orbit. This test campaign represented Phase 2 of the Fly Your Satellite! educational programme. The satellites were tested before, between, and after being exposed to extreme environmental conditions, such as vibrations and temperature cycles in a thermal/vacuum chamber. These tests are necessary to demonstrate that the CubeSats are capable of working in these harsh environments and are not visibly damaged by them. The three CubeSats that underwent the 'Fly Your Satellite!' environmental test campaign are presented."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/15-189a.jpg"NASA is giving university and college students an opportunity to be part of the agency's journey to Mars with the Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge. NASA's Game Changing Development Program (GCD), managed by the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) are seeking innovative ideas for generating lift using inflatable spacecraft heat shields or hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator (HIAD) technology."

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Small Satellites Provide Big Payoffs

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/iss038e046586.jpg"When we think of space satellites that assist with communications, weather monitoring and GPS here on Earth, we likely picture them as being quite largemany are as big as a school bus and weigh several tons. Yet there's a class of smaller satellites that's growing in popularity. These miniaturized satellites, known as nanosatellites or CubeSats, can fit in the palm of your hand and are providing new opportunities for space science. "CubeSats are part of a growing technology that's transforming space exploration," said David Pierce, senior program executive for suborbital research at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "CubeSats are small platforms that enable the next generation of scientists and engineers to complete all phases of a complete space mission during their school career. While CubeSats have historically been used as teaching tools and technology demonstrations, today's CubeSats have the potential to conduct important space science investigations as well."

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KiboCUBE: United Nations/Japan Program on CubeSat Deployment

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/KiboCUBE_2.jpg"The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are pleased to announce the United Nations/Japan Cooperation Programme on CubeSat Deployment from the International Space Station (ISS) Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) "KiboCUBE". KiboCUBE is the dedicated collaboration between UNOOSA and JAXA in utilizing the ISS Kibo for the world. KiboCUBE aims to provide educational or research institutions from developing countries of United Nations membership with opportunities to deploy, from the ISS Kibo, cube satellites (CubeSats) which they develop and manufacture. Currently, the only way to deploy CubeSats from the ISS is from Kibo. Kibo's unique capability is comprised of an airlock system and a robotic arm. The first orbital deployment of CubeSats from Kibo was successfully conducted in October 2012 through the Small Satellite Orbital Deployer developed by JAXA. Since then, nano-satellites and CubeSats from various countries around the world have been deployed from Kibo."

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ESA Survey: Future Educational Cubesat Initiatives

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/CubeSat_integration_in_depl.jpg"For a few years already, ESA's Education Office is very active in offering university students several educational opportunities related to CubeSat satellites. Up until now, ESA has completed the 'CubeSats on the Vega Maiden Flight' educational programme which involved twelve different CubeSat student teams that were supported by the Education Office, and of which seven student CubeSats were eventually launched on Vega on 13 February 2012. In the period between October 2012 and March 2013, ESA's Education Office also provided support for the test campaign of the HumSat-D student CubeSat. Based on this initial experience, the Education Office launched the Fly Your Satellite! Programme in 2013. Its first edition is currently ongoing, and it aims at launching a few student CubeSats into orbit in 2016."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/comm.launch.2.jpg"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD), in collaboration with the Office of Education (OE) National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant) will release the Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) Student Flight Research Opportunity (SFRO) on or about August 21. USIP-2015 solicits proposals from U.S. institutions of higher education to develop an undergraduate-led Project Team that will fly a science and/or technology payload relevant to NASA strategic goals and objectives on a sounding rocket, balloon, aircraft, suborbital reusable launch vehicle (sRLV), or CubeSat launched on an orbital launch vehicle (hereafter referred to collectively as suborbital-class platforms)."

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Student Satellite Headed To International Space Station

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/AAUSat-5.jpg "A very special week is about to begin for approximately 30 students from Aalborg University, in Denmark, as their satellite - AAUSAT5 - waits to be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday 19 August. A few weeks later, AAUSAT5 will be deployed into orbit around Earth, marking the first ESA student CubeSat mission ever launched from the ISS: the pilot project of ESA's 'Fly Your Satellite from the ISS!' education programme. AAUSAT5, a CubeSat satellite entirely built by a university team with ESA's support, will reach the ISS aboard the Japanese HTV-5 cargo vehicle, planned to lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan."

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NASA Smallsat Program Research Opportunities

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/edsn1_0.jpg"They say big things come in small packages, and that's evident with the small satellites that are becoming ubiquitous around NASA centers, university labs and even elementary school science classes. These tiny satellites are relatively inexpensive, which makes space-borne research accessible to more people today than has been possible in the past. NASA is focused on its journey to Mars, and these small satellites are helping us develop the miniaturized technologies needed to reduce unnecessary weight and space aboard crewed spacecraft that could be used for research, life support and other things astronauts will need as they travel to the Red Planet. Closer to home, the technologies developed to work on satellites ranging in size from a refrigerator to a box of tissues could radically change the way we predict weather, provide Internet and television programming and cellular reception."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/wff-2015-e05850.jpg"NASA launched a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket carrying the RockSat-X payload with university and community college student experiments at 6:04 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 12, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. More than 60 students and instructors from across the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico were on hand to witness the launch of their experiments. The payload flew to an altitude of about 97 miles and descended via parachute into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Wallops. Payload recovery operations began after lift-off."

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New CubeSat Opportunities for Low-Cost Space Exploration

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/cubesat20131206.jpg"Space enthusiasts have an opportunity to contribute to NASA's exploration goals through the next round of the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative. Applicants must submit their proposals electronically by 4:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 24. The CubeSat Launch Initiative provides access to space for CubeSats developed by NASA centers, accredited educational institutions and non-profit organizations, giving CubeSat developers access to a low-cost pathway to conduct research in the areas of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations consistent with NASA's Strategic Plan. NASA does not provide funding for the development of the small satellites."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/cubesat.jpg"NASA has selected eight university teams to collaborate on developing and demonstrating new technologies and capabilities for small spacecraft. The selected teams will work with engineers and scientists from NASA under a cooperative agreement, beginning in Fall 2015. The goal is to develop technologies for small spacecraft--some of which weigh only a few pounds--that dramatically enhance their ability to serve as powerful and affordable platforms for science, exploration and commercial space missions."

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A Powerful Telescope You Can Build at Home

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/unnamed.jpg"A team from the London-based Open Space Agency (OSA) has produced the Ultrascope, a downloadable telescope design that can be generated by a 3D printer, be controlled by simple robotics, and captures images using the camera on a smartphone. OSA's James Parr says the group wanted to show that it was possible to create an open source design that people could build cheaply at home and use to do scientifically valuable observations. The phones on the Ultrascope automatically upload images to the cloud and Parr hopes users will build up a library of shared images online."

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Student Satellite Wins Green Light for Station Deployment

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/AAUSat-5-1.jpg"Following more than a year of intense effort channelled into a 10 cm box, the first of ESA's student satellites to be released from the International Space Station has been accepted for launch. A standard CubeSat measuring 10 x 10 x 10 cm, AAUSat-5 has been designed and built by 30 students from the University of Aalborg in Denmark, backed by ESA's Education Office. It will be carried to the Station in August, where it will be despatched into space in conjunction with the mission of Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen. "The team will have their small CubeSat deployed into orbit from the International Space Station, the most gigantic space structure ever built," commented Piero Galeone of the ESA Education Office's Fly Your Satellite! venture."

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NASA Launches Suborbital Rocket With Student Experiments

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/quick-look-launch-BR.jpg"NASA successfully launched a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket carrying student experiments with the RockOn/RockSat-C programs at 6 a.m., today. More than 200 middle school and university students and instructors participating in Rocket Week at Wallops were on hand to witness the launch. Through RockOn and RockSat-C students are learning and applying skills required to develop experiments for suborbital rocket flight. In addition, middle school educators through the Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers (WRATS) are learning about applying rocketry basics in their curriculum."

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ESA's Parabolic Flight Opportunities for Students Restart

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/ARID_team.jpg"The ESA Education Office's 'Fly Your Thesis!' programme is back, after having a short break of three years. The first new flight campaign is planned for late 2016. The deadline for applications is 21 September 2015. Fly Your Thesis! allows Master and PhD students from ESA Member and Cooperating States to design, build and fly scientific or technology-related experiments in microgravity. These are the conditions that astronauts experience in space. The dramatic reduction of gravity up to a few thousandths of the pull on Earth provides experimental conditions that are impossible to reproduce in ground-based laboratories."

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NASA Hosts Rocket Week at Wallops Flight Facility

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/img_4247.jpg"Students and educators from across the country will have the chance to be rocket scientists during Rocket Week, June 20-26 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. About 150 university and community college students and instructors will build and fly experiments on a NASA suborbital rocket through the RockOn and RockSat-C programs. Another 20 high school educators from the eastern United States will examine how to apply rocketry basics into their curriculum through the Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers (WRATS)."

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NASA Selects Projects for X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/15-114.jpg"NASA is working with eight U.S. universities on new technology projects for deep space exploration, including the agency's journey to Mars, as part of the 2016 X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge. The challenge, which is led by NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation, has teams designing systems, concepts and technologies that will help improve NASA's exploration capabilities and provide undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in technology development."

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NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/inv_2015113_pao_0.jpg"Twenty robotics teams, ranging from university students to small businesses, are preparing to compete June 8-13 in the fourth running of the NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge for a prize purse of $1.5 million. At the autonomous robot competition held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, teams must demonstrate their robot can locate and collect geologic samples from a large and varied landscape, without human control, through two levels of competition that grow in complexity."

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CubeSat Initiative Aids Solar Sails in Space

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/15-101a.jpg"With help from NASA, a small research satellite to test technology for in-space solar propulsion launched into space Wednesday aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, as part of the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative. The Atlas V sent the U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane on its fourth mission, which also is carrying NASA's Materials Exposure and Technology Innovation in Space (METIS) investigation that will expose about 100 different materials samples to the space environment for more than 200 days."

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The CubeSat Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/medium.jpg"The goal of this challenge is to design a small satellite frame optimized for additive manufacturing. By using the benefits of design for additive manufacturing (DFAM) principles: Mass distributions and materials can be rethought to minimize weight, Part count can be reduced to improve producibility, and ultimately, cost can be reduced."

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CubeSats Offer Engineers Unprecedented Access to Space

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/txcubesat.jpg "Steve Provence likes to talk about space, and engineering students at the University of Houston are benefiting from his conversations. The NASA engineer and UH adjunct professor teaches several electrical engineering classes, but also makes time to visit his fellow professors on campus. As an alumnus of the Cullen College, Provence has a history with electrical and computer engineering professors David Jackson and Ji Chen, and their conversations have sparked amazing developments in space engineering education at the Cullen College."

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Build an Ionic Thruster like NASA Uses for Space Propulsion

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/10b.jpg"An ion thruster produces a flow of air even though it has no moving parts. A version of this seemingly impossible device is used on a larger scale to propel deep space probes for NASA. The advantage to this system over others is that you need only an electrical source to power the device and it has no moving parts so it is almost unbreakable. So why aren't we using this to power our cars, boats, planes, and hovercrafts?"

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