Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Charlotte Bowditch at Charlotte.Bowditch@colorado.edu.
NASA selected a group of University of Colorado graduate students as one of five teams in the nation to compete for the opportunity to launch a self-designed satellite. This selection allows the team to continue designing and building their satellite capable of operating near and beyond the moon, with the help of the $30,000 award from NASA.
CU Earth Escape Explorer (CU-E3), the name of the students’ small CubeSat satellite, is being assembled to fly on the Orion Exploration Mission-1. The students working to assemble the satellites are Abhinav Pandey, Alec Herr, Varun Joshi, Thomas Green, Anirudh Rajaseshan, Huikang Ma, Maurice Woods, Maheedhara Reddy, Alec Forsman and Elie Tianang.
EM-1 is a revolutionary unmanned flight, part of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, which the winning satellites will accompany.
“The Aerospace Engineering Sciences Graduate Project course allows us to engage students from disciplines across the College of Engineering and Applied Science in exciting real-world, hands-on projects,” said CU-Boulder Professor Scott Palo in a press release.
As finalists, the CU-Boulder students are taking part in NASA’s CubeQuest Challenge Deep Sea Space Derby, which intends to innovate deep sea space exploration. If they win, the CU-Boulder satellite will be launched more than 2.5 million miles into space, and the team will be awarded $2.5 million from NASA.
The state of Colorado remains one of the most supportive states involved in the growing industry of aerospace. The graduate program at CU has already built three CubeSat satellites, two of which have already been launched into orbit, and one that will be launched in 2017. One of these satellites was in orbit for 28 months, and the other is still in orbit.
This project is extremely important for the diverse communities involved with aerospace in Colorado and the students studying this subject matter.
“This project is giving me hands-on experience with what we hope is a real NASA mission,” Huikang Ma said according to the CU press release.
The CU-Boulder students will continue to design and assemble their satellite, in hopes of being able to launch it in 2018.