CubeSat Satellite for Middle and High School Students

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Design of Luminosity Sensor Experiment on a CubeSat Satellite for Middle and High School Students

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The poster is a description of a project to design, test, and run an experiment in space (Low Earth Orbit – LEO) on a CubeSat satellite launched by Spire Corporation in September 2015. Ardusat and the Association of Space Explorers sponsored a national contest to select fifteen schools to invent, create, and explore running custom experiments in space. Rachel Carson Middle School (Fairfax County Public School in Virginia) was awarded the opportunity to run two experiments (in January and March 2016) on the Lemur Satellite. The experiment will use the Lemur Luminosity Sensor to measure different frequencies and strength of infrared and ultraviolet light in space. The purpose of the experiment is to understand how light is affected by distance and spectrum of light in space. The data collected will be used to support satelliteto-satellite communication for a mesh space communication network for an array of multiple CubeSat satellites. The multiple satellites could use light communication as an out-of-band (non-Radio Frequency) communication network. The advantage of using infrared light communication is the high bit rates and low error rates. Data collection on useful distance and interference will be analyzed to determine the best light wave pulses and acceptable angles for the luminosity sensor to capture data adjusting for sensitivity. Data will be captured four times per hour over fifteen days to determine the different bands and wavelengths of light in space. Based on the data, the best bands (e.g. H, J, K, L, M bands) will be determined for satellite-to-satellite light communications. The team will attempt to determine a CubeSat constellation appropriate for a mesh network of satellites in low earth orbit. The model will attempt show the elimination of latency in communications while determining the minimum number of satellites needed to provide coverage of CubeSat in LEO.

Our team started first with an intrest for rocketry by participating in the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) as an afterschool STEM activity sponsored by Rachel Carson Middle School. Students on the TARC team learned how to design, build and simulate rockets to reach a target altitude and flight duration. We later entered the Herndon Aerospace Corporation Competition, where the students experimented with creating a satellite conselation which consists of a network of sattelites to inexpensively identify dangerous Near Earth Objects (NEO) such as meteors. This event quickly 2016 IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (ISEC) 978-1-4673-9773-5/16/$31.00 ©2016 IEEE 94 developed into a love for space and a new interest in satellites. The team researched and developed a particular interest in CubeSats, which are small sattelite that measures 10 centimeter cube. CubeSats are more affordable versions of sattelites which allow for concepts to be proved, as well as makes it possible for institutions to fund the development of these sattelites. Additionally, NASA is willing to launch these sattelites for free, with a 66% acceptance rate. Furthermore, Rachel Carson Middle School After School STEM program partnered with a space STEM company called ArduSat which is willing to submit experiments (consisting of software coding) to a currently orbiting CubeSat, in order to collect data for middle school and high school students. The goal of the Rachel Carson after school program is to increase the amount of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. The current team is attempting to determine which electromagnetic frequency has the least interference within space. By doing so, the team will be able to decide the most efficient means of communication within space. However, ultimately the team hopes to develop their own CubeSat satellite during high school which they plan to launch through NASA’s CLSI program. Team Advisor: Ms. Jenifer Maybury (8th Grade General Science Teacher) Member: Turner Bumbary (8th Grade Student at Rachel Carson Middle School) Ardusat Corporation Advisors: Jeff Couch, Kevin Cocco, and Chris Sponsor: Rachel Carson Middle School Currently the team is developing the hypothesis, software code, and expected results for the January 2016 fifteen satellite data collection. The project is currently Work In Progress (WIP).