Satellite designed by Missouri S&T students launches into space

Posted by
On March 5, 2024

Students, faculty and staff cheer as the SpaceX rocket carrying S&T’s satellite launches into space. Photo by Michael Pierce/Missouri S&T.

Students, faculty and staff cheer as the SpaceX rocket carrying S&T’s satellite launches into space. Photo by Michael Pierce/Missouri S&T.

A Missouri S&T student-designed satellite is now in space and revolving around the Earth — thanks to some help from a SpaceX rocket.

On Monday, March 4, several members of the Missouri S&T Satellite Research Team were in California and watched in person as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which was carrying the team’s small, cube-shaped satellite, lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base as part of the Transporter-10 mission.

Even more members of the team, along with other S&T students, faculty and staff excited about the mission, attended S&T’s launch party in Toomey Hall and let out loud cheers as the rocket successfully took off into space.

Emily Doddemeade, a senior in aerospace engineering from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and the mission’s project manager, says the team refers to this satellite initiative, which is part of NASA’s Undergraduate Student Instrument Project, as the Multi-Mode Mission, or M³.

Doddemeade says the satellite launch was an interdisciplinary effort that required a large amount of collaboration.

“It’s amazing to consider how many moving parts and disciplines are involved in something like this,” she says. “You really have to take a systems engineering perspective for this instead of thinking about just one major. I have learned so much with my experiences on the team.”

Drake Beaman, a junior in aerospace engineering from Pleasant Hill, Missouri, who is the project’s chief engineer, says this satellite launch was several years in the making, as S&T students first began working on this NASA-funded project in 2016.

He says the satellite will test an experimental thruster that was developed in the Missouri S&T Advanced Plasma Lab in partnership with Froberg Aerospace, but it will first take a week to get acclimated to space.

The propulsion system includes both chemical and electric components and will be fed a liquid propellent, he says. The thruster will be fired multiple times in space for 30-second bursts. 

Once the team had everything ready to go for the satellite earlier this year, Doddemeade and Beaman, as well Rayan Barghchoun, a December aerospace engineering graduate from St. Charles, Missouri, and Dr. Hank Pernicka, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of aerospace engineering and the team’s advisor, traveled cross-country to load the satellite into a deployer at the Firefly Aerospace facility in Austin, Texas.

From there, the satellite took a trip inside the deployer to Vandenberg Space Force Base where it was integrated into the Falcon 9 rocket by SEOPS, LLC, before eventually going into space.

After the satellite completes its autonomous tests, its data will be sent to Iridium Communications, which specializes in satellite communications, and then transferred to the S&T team.

About Missouri S&T

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students located in Rolla, Missouri. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, Missouri S&T offers over 100 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top public universities for salary impact, according to the Wall Street Journal. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu. 

Share this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *