A student build miniature satellite from the University of North Dakota has been selected by NASA as worthy of a launch to space.
Students from the UND have been working for 5 years on a CubeSat which will become North Dakota’s first spacecraft to orbit the Earth. The honor was bestowed on the student team by NASA after the agency reviewed several other projects of the same type.
Working on a satellite project that will eventually be launched from Earth into Orbit is a honor for any astronomy enthusiast, but being able to say that was an accomplishment done while still a college student is simply fantastic.
The CubeSat miniaturized satellite design was created with this very goal in mind, back in 1999. Two University Professors proposed the design as a platform which students could use to test their technical skills.
It soon became apparent that the CubeSat possessed the perfect layout for use in training students to design, test, and construct a spacecraft or a similar type of small satellite.
Now, 16 years later the CubeSat is commonly used to send technology into space not only by student teams but by well established companies like Airbus.
UND chairman of Computer Science Professor Ronald March stated that the CubeSat project was a great hands on experience opportunity for his students, which allowed them to demonstrate their respective skills in fields like math, engineering and technology.
“It’s both very exciting and somewhat nerve-racking. If it doesn’t work we’re going to look pretty silly,” said the distinguished Ronald Marsh, which was also the principal investigator of the launch proposal.
However CubeSats depend on the method used to transport them into orbit just like any other orbital satellite, therefore a successful launch is crucial. The UND CubeSat will be launched sometime next spring by a rocket carrying supplies for the International Space Station.
The final version of the UND CubeSat was completed using the work of 80 students some of which had already graduated by the time the project was done.
The relatively cheap costs of sending such a device to space, as well as the low production price, have made CubeSat programs very popular among University students and their supervising professors.
It is possible that a whole generation of future technology experts have been influenced in some way by such projects, which allow the integration of student build devices into the existing template.
Image Source: themadspaceball.com