Student satellite team moves one step closer to space

group photo with small satellite parts

small sat teaser.jpgThe ingenuity and hardwork of the Small satellite Research Labaoratory continues to lead the project up, up and away:

A University of Georgia research laboratory led by a group of undergraduate students is one of only two university research programs chosen by the United States Air Force to build and launch satellites into space.

The UGA Small Satellite Research Laboratory, which is supported by faculty from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering, includes more than 45 members working to build two CubeSats for low Earth orbit.

CubeSats are a specialized class of miniaturized satellite that can be deployed more cheaply than larger spacecraft while still providing invaluable research data.

UGA’s winning satellite design is known as MOCI, short for Multi-view Onboard Computational Imager. This spacecraft is equipped with a camera that will capture images of Earth’s surface, which may be used to create 3-D models of structures on the Earth.

This mission is of great interest to the Air Force and the satellite community as a whole because of its on-board processing capabilities. This technology will allow for the current mission, as well as future missions, to process large amounts of data on board the spacecraft before sending a finished product back to Earth.

The competition is part of the U.S. Air Force’s Research Laboratory University Nanosatellite Program, or UNP.

This interdisciplinary group of students, along with great encouragement and strong expertise from faculty, has created a satellite project from scratch, and won approval for it from the Air Force (and NASA). It's a stunning accomplishment in progress, the proportions of which they will probably only realize much later in their careers - to have created a space project at a university that does not have a space program, competed and prevailed against some of the best tech university in the country. It's the ultimate expression of self-organizing ingenuity and creative team work, and it will allow them to build a satellite that will go into orbit. Dean Dorsey is certainly correct: it doesn't get much cooler than that.