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6:43 AM Mon, Sept. 24th

Embry-Riddle Prescott student team launches CubeSat

Members of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University EagleSat team pose with the cube satellite they designed. From left are Deborah Jackson, EagleSat-1 project manager; Sean Akana, systems lead; and Delbert Conn III, previous project manager. (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University/Courtesy)

Members of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University EagleSat team pose with the cube satellite they designed. From left are Deborah Jackson, EagleSat-1 project manager; Sean Akana, systems lead; and Delbert Conn III, previous project manager. (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University/Courtesy)

About seven years in the making, engineering students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott campus just launched EagleSat-1, a cube satellite (CubeSat) aboard a Delta 2 rocket in California, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 2:47 a.m.

EagleSat-1 launched as a secondary payload alongside the primary NASA mission of launching a new, highly advanced weather satellite. The mission of EagleSat-1 is to study the satellite’s orbital decay and demonstrate the use of super capacitors for power rather than traditional rechargeable batteries. The ERAU EagleSat team estimates that their CubeSat will be in orbit between seven and nine years.

“Through comparison, we will be able to analyze the accuracy of current orbit propagations,” said EagleSat-1 Project Manager Deborah Jackson. “The smaller an object is and the further in time we are estimating for, the less accurate this propagation or ‘model’ is. We hope to contribute to the improvement of this process.”

Additionally, the team hopes to demonstrate that super capacitors are an adequate alternative to rechargeable batteries for supplying power to space systems. Super capacitors are able to charge and discharge large quantities quickly, and are therefore more durable than batteries. 

Though NASA launched CubeSat, the EagleSat team will execute the operation of the mission from the Embry-Riddle campus. The team will then share their scientific findings with NASA.

The current EagleSat team consists of Deborah Jackson, Madison Padilla, Steven Buck, Jon Lowe, Sean Akana and faculty mentor Dr. Gary Yale. About 35 ERAU Prescott students have contributed to the EagleSat-1 project over the past seven years.

“The students have worked incredibly hard to make this day happen,” said Yale, Professor of Aerospace Engineering. “We are all proud of what they’ve accomplished and share in their excitement about the impending launch.”

Information provided by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.