NASA has selected Marquette University as one of 16 organizations to launch a CubeSat, a small satellite that weighs than three pounds, into space in 2015, 2016 or 2017.
The student-built CubeSat, named Golden Eagle One, will be the first satellite built by Wisconsin college students to be launched into space. The CubeSat program, developed by CalPoly and Stanford Universities, allows small satellites to be launched as secondary payloads on either a NASA or private rocket. CubeSats are a class of small research satellites that measure four inches on each side, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than three pounds.
“The College of Engineering wants to inspire students to reach for places they normally wouldn’t reach for, including space,” says Dr. Robert H. Bishop, Opus Dean of Engineering and adviser on the project. “This project is an opportunity for our students who are driven to explore.”
The Marquette satellite is designed to carry out two main objectives: to collect and transmit pictures from onboard cameras back to earth and to test the reliability of special computer memory used in space. A ground station on Marquette’s campus will allow students to communicate with and retrieve data from the satellite once it is in orbit. The satellite will be powered by solar panels that will extend from the cube once in space. Students have worked in multidisciplinary engineering teams to coordinate seven subsystems for the satellite to operate and complete its mission. The college is hoping to launch the satellite in spring 2015, but a specific launch date will not be determined until the satellite completes a variety of tests required by NASA.
This is the fifth round of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, with only 115 satellite projects from across the country selected. The other 14 projects selected by NASA in the latest around are:
- Boston University, Boston
- Brown University, Providence, R.I.
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.
- Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
- Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lexington, Mass.
- NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
- NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
- New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, N.M.
- St. Thomas More Cathedral School, Arlington, Va.
- The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, Calif.
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Utah State University, Logan, Utah (2 CubeSats)