Dawn Of the DAWGSat program

four people in a lab, with model

CubeSat teaser.jpgThe time when UGA did not have a space program is soon to be ending, thanks to some truly ambitious and imaginative undergraduate students and an interdisciplinary faculty team:

A University of Georgia project led by a team of undergraduate students and including faculty from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering was recently selected for funding by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative.

The UGA proposal, "CubeSat for GA Water Resources," to NASA's Undergraduate Student Instrument Project will receive $200,000 in funding to prepare for a launch date 18 months from the project start date this month.

The spectrographic observatory of coastal regions, or SPOC satellite playfully known as DAWGSat, will be designed to perform the first moderate resolution multispectral analysis of vegetation health, ocean productivity, near-coastal sediment, organic matter and production of shelf waters and salt marshes from low Earth orbit, in this case an altitude of 400 kilometers.

This remarkable story, growing by the week, is a compelling cross-section of where some of our brightest students are today: taking advantage of entrepreneurial competitions (Hackathon, in this case) to meet with like minds and leverage their experience, goals and aptitude into something previously unimagined. Great stuff. We hear about how the undergraduate years can be a field of open possibility, discovery. Well here's your real-world example, class. The countdown to launch begins this month. Kudos to the amazing faculty who are facilitating, supporting, consulting and largely getting out of the way. That alone is a testament of their commitment to and confidence in a higher-order belief in teaching. 

Image: UGA research scientist David Cotten of the Center for Geospatial Research, left to right, senior computer science and astrophysics major Caleb Adams, associate professor of geography Deepak Mishra, and senior mechanical engineering major Megan Le Corre.