Engineering Students Prepare for NASA Satellite Launch
University of Arizona students are preparing for their hard work to be launched into space later this spring. Astronomy professor Chris Walker recently spoke with the Arizona Science podcast about UA's CatSat project, which will send a mini satellite on a NASA mission. The current CatSat team includes AME undergrad Shae Henley.
The students are working with 10 x 10 x 10 centimeter cube satellites, which can be connected together. The CatSat will comprise six of these cubes, resulting in a 20 x 30 x 10 centimeter satellite with two key scientific instruments on board. The first detects HAM radio signals as it passes overhead, and the second is the "technology demonstration" instrument, an inflatable spherical reflector.
Roughly 40 students have worked on the project since it was proposed to NASA in 2018. The current cadre of students represent aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, systems engineering and more.
"They're very motivated students," Walker said. "As new students come in, the older students serve as mentors for the younger ones. So we have this continuous thread through the project."
Depending on the final orbit, the mission may be up for several years.