SKC began a three-year “CubeSat”
project starting in December 2010.
CubeSats are small cube satellites, 10 centimeters on a
side that universities, government
agencies, and private businesses utilize
for low-cost access to Earth orbit.
CubeSats are carried to orbit as
secondary payloads on government
and commercial launches. CubeSats
are especially effective for providing
undergraduate students with the
opportunity to participate in a space
flight mission. NASA has recognized
the value of CubeSats in developing
the next generation of space scientists
and engineers by providing increased
opportunities for colleges and
universities to launch CubeSats on
NASA missions. NASA has selected the SKC CubeSat
for launch into Earth orbit in 2014.
The SKC CubeSat team performed
preliminary design last year
culminating in an independent review
by engineers and scientists from NASA
and other university CubeSat projects.
The SKC team have completed design
work in September 2012, and began
building the CubeSat flight hardware
this past fall to be ready for launch by
the fall of 2014. The SKC CubeSat will
be solar powered and carry a SKCdesigned camera and a radio for
receiving commands and transmitting
data. The primary purpose of the SKC
CubeSat mission is educational, but
also has a science objective of using
broad-band visible light orbital
imagery to study atmospheric aerosols,
cloud formation, and various
hydrologic processes. The camera
system design will build on the
experience gained by SKC students
and faculty with its NASA High
Altitude Student Platform Wide Field
Camera designed for HASP Flight 5.
The SKC CubeSat will be operated
from a satellite communications
groundstation built at SKC.