Air Force Research Laboratory
1/30/2015 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Students
representing 10 universities competed in Albuquerque, New Mexico this
week for the chance to send a satellite they designed and built into
space. The competition was held through the Air Force Research
Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate University Nanosat Program.
1st place - Missouri University of Science and Technology
2nd place - University of Colorado at Boulder
3rd place - Georgia Institute of Technology
4th place - Taylor University
Boston University and State University of New York at Buffalo tied for
5th place. Judges will break the tie during upcoming visits to both
universities where they will conduct a deep dive into their respective
Each winning school will receive $110,000 from the Air Force Office of
Science and Technology, and mission support from AFRL/Space Vehicles to
finish preparing their satellites for launch. Now in its eighth cycle,
this is the first time multiple winners were selected.
"We are excited that we were able to expand the number of winners from
one to five this year, allowing more teams the opportunity to send their
satellite to space and, in turn, increasing the scientific and
technology benefits of the program," Dr. David Voss, University Nanosat
Program manager said. "We had a remarkable field of competitors this
year, and we commend the hard-work, passion and professionalism of these
young great minds."
The University Nanosat Program was established in 1999 by AFRL and the
Air Force Office of Scientific Research as a way to inspire and train
the next generation of space professionals. It is a rigorous two-year
concept to flight ready spacecraft competition, and the only program in
the country that gives university students the opportunity to actually
participate in U.S. spacecraft development. The approximately 5,000
students from 32 universities have participated in the program and
several of their satellites have been sent to space.
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, University of California Los
Angeles, University of Florida and New Mexico State University also
Winning schools and descriptions of projects:
Missouri University of Science & Technology, M-SAT (SSA/Prox Ops) -
Determine physical characteristics of an Uncooperative Residential
Space Object (URSO) by utilizing visible light and infrared images.
Estimate and track the trajectory of an URSO. Perform visual-based
proximity operations to characterize the physical structure of an URSO.
Colorado University at Boulder, PolarCube (Upper Atmospheric Imaging) -
PolarCube shall study the Earth's tropospheric temperature patterns in
the polar regions and observe the extent of sea ice/open ocean
boundaries through atmospheric temperature sounding with the 118.7503
GHz O2 resonance
Georgia Institute of Technology, RECONSO (Defensive Space/Prox Ops) -
RECONSO's mission is to place a passive optical sensor in a Low Earth
Orbit. This sensor will be used to detect and track transient objects
within its field of view. The detected objects will be analyzed to
generate track information from the optical observations made to help
study space debris.
Taylor University, ELEO-SAT (SSA/Space Weather Effects) -
To study ionospheric structure, temperature, and composition, their
effects on VLF transionospheric propagation and the efficiency of
VLF-LEP coupling and to open up the F-region for further nano-sat
Boston University, ANDESITE (Space Weather Effects) -
ANDESITE will evaluate a space based - wireless sensor network to
examine the spatial and temporal variability of the current density
within the region 1 and region 2Birkeland currents through in situ
magnetic field measurements.
State University of New York at Buffalo, GLADOS (SSA) - Utilize multi-band photometric data of glinting space objects to identify their type, surface materials, and orientation.