Hampton University
Hampton University Students Developing Analysis Software for Satellites that will be Launched into Space on April 17, 2019
03/19/2019 - #207

HAMPTON, Va. (March 19, 2019) – Hampton University is part of a collaborative project of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium where students from four Virginia universities delivered small satellites to NanoRacks in Houston, to be integrated into a CubeSat deployer (NRCSD), which will be launched into space on April 17, 2019. Four undergraduate Hampton University students worked on the project by developing software to perform analysis on the data that will be received from the satellites.

“Hampton University has always been on the forefront of innovation. The work our students are doing is being recognized and utilized by industry leaders, and we are excited to be part of this collaboration,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.

The satellites will communicate data to ground stations at Virginia Tech, University of Virginia and Old Dominion University for subsequent analysis using an analytical tool being developed by Hampton University students from the Atmospheric and Planetary Science Department.

More than 140 undergraduate students have been hard at work on the mission since June 2016 as a cross-institutional team. Undergraduate student leaders and team members from physics, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and computer science disciplines have worked together to make the mission a reality. The students have been coached by faculty advisors and have benefitted greatly from advice from NASA, industry and academic advisors, and NanoRacks, the world’s leading commercial space station company.

“I learned so much about different types of orbits, the process of agile development, the nature and effects of coefficient drag all while using a foreign API in a familiar programming language,” said Asanji Chofor, Hampton University junior and cyber security student. “Taking part in the Agile SCRUM Management Workshop where we met up with the other teams from the other universities was one of the most exciting parts of this project for me because we gained firsthand experience planning and actually constructing a CubeSat from scratch. I’m truly grateful for this experience and all that I was able to learn as a part of the CubeSat Mission.”

Astronauts will release the CubeSats so they can orbit together as a constellation. The satellites are expected to remain in orbit anywhere from four months up until two years before burning up when they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. The satellites will communicate data to ground stations at UVA, Virginia Tech and ODU for analysis using the analytical tool being developed by Hampton University students.

"This was a great opportunity for Hampton University students to get involved in and learn about CubeSats and projects on a scale larger than what can be experienced in a classroom, so large that they must be coordinated across several different organizations,” said Dr. John McNabb, assistant professor for the Hampton University School of Science.

The launch is scheduled for April 17 from Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.




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