S&T’s satellite team competing in Air Force challenge

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On November 8, 2012

The Missouri Satellite (M-SAT) team at Missouri University of Science and Technology is one of 10 universities taking part in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Nanosat-7 competition. The winning team will eventually have its spacecraft launched into orbit.

The M-SAT team has received grants totaling $110,000 from AFRL to build and develop two microsatellites, Missouri Rolla Satellite (MR-SAT) and Missouri Rolla Second Satellite (MRS-SAT). The satellites are designed to launch as a single unit, then separate once on orbit and maintain a specific flight formation.

More than 30 students are on the team, from freshmen to Ph.D. students. Some spend up to 20 hours per week on the project.

This is Missouri S&T’s third time to compete in the two-year design and build competition. The team placed third in 2007 and won Best Outreach in 2011.

This year’s design is unique in that it uses propulsion to guide the satellites. “No other university has flow with propulsion,” says Dr. Hank Pernicka, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the team’s faculty advisor. “We got very good feedback from the Air Force at our last design review.” Twelve M-SAT team members attended the review that was held in Utah in August.

The final review of the projects will take place in January 2013 when each team will power up its fully assembled spacecraft and computer control system. The winning team’s satellite will be sponsored by AFRL to be launched simultaneously with a larger Department of Defense spacecraft into low Earth orbit.

Other universities competing in the Nanosat-7 competition include Boston University, Georgia Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland.

“The ultimate goal of the project is research. We’d like to get outside funding and research contracts,” says Pernicka. “But of course, winning would be nice.”

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On November 8, 2012. Posted in News, Top Headlines

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3 thoughts on “S&T’s satellite team competing in Air Force challenge”

  • Kent Peterson says:

    Good luck on your upcoming review!! I know well all the work that’s involved, having had to create and present many in my Career with Lockheed Martin!!
    Kent Peterson
    Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS)
    Sr. Manager, Integration test and Launch Ops
    Rolla ’85’

  • Ashok Midha says:

    Dr. Pernicka is to be congratulated for his sustained leadership of the M-SAT team at Missouri S&T with a very visible national presence, with his team participating in a slate of some highly ranked institutions in the AFRL’s Nanosat competitions. These design/build competitions are a ‘labor of love’ endeavor that requires high skill levels in conceptualization, mathematical modeling, communications, and leadership, not to mention organizational ability. Mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students doesn’t get any better!
    Kudos to you, Dr. Pernicka!
    Ashok Midha

  • Greg O'Neill says:

    I am interested in developing an antenna to receive 70 cm signals from nano or cube sats. I would like to know more about how users on the earth surface can participate in receiving and relaying data received from the satellite.
    I hope to introduce my antenna products in the near future.
    I am a 1965 alumni of the University of Missouri at Rolla, now renamed.
    Presently, I operate G. O. Electronics.
    Greg O’Neill
    4876 Merlot Drive
    Rockledge, FL 32955
    (321) 749-7742 Wireless
    AB4GO Amateur Radio
    Best regards,
    Greg O’Neill