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Advanced Picosatellite Experiment

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3 Author(s)
Jason LaBerteaux ; University of Louisiana at Lafayette ; Jason Moesta ; Blaise Bernard

The design of the CAPE I satellite was underway for approximately three years. This interdisciplinary project incorporates electrical, mechanical, and aerospace engineering, as well as computer science and physics. The project hoped to teach students how to design, develop, and maintain a lower Earth orbiting satellite. This satellite was delivered to San Luis Obispo, California, December 5, 2006, where it passed the final integration test in order to qualify for launch. After qualification, the satellite was loaded into the poly-picosatellite orbital deployer or P-POD, which is the deployment system for the satellite. The P-POD holds three CubeSats. Once all three satellites were integrated, it was delivered to Kazakhstan and loaded into the DNEPR Russian Rocket on March 17, 2007. After a few delays, the rocket was launched on April 17,2007. The team is currently monitoring and decoding the CW beacons transmitted by the satellite. The project was broken into several subsystems including mechanical, communications, control and data handling, and power. Each of the systems proved to have their own unique challenges. Being that the majority of the team was electrical engineering students, the mechanical subsystem presented the most difficulty. There is currently a design in progress for the next satellite project, CAPE II. This new satellite will attempt a new benchmark by incorporating more advanced technologies than CAPE I and include other campus entities such as The Wetlands Research Center. The team hopes to deploy buoys into the Gulf of Mexico that will communicate to the CAPE 11 satellite in space and then send data to the ground station at the University. This data will include subjects such as coastal erosion, water temperatures, and drift currents throughout the Gulf. With this data, we can give other organizations the information obtained for their use as well.

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 9 )