A satellite designed and built by University of Southern Indiana undergraduate students is scheduled for deployment into orbit from the International Space Station at approximately 7:40 a.m. Thursday, January 31. USI students will monitor the deployment from the UNITE Mission Operations Center in the Business and Engineering Center (BEC) on the USI campus, and anticipate receiving the satellite’s first transmission as early as 8:30 a.m.
The UNITE CubeSat satellite, built to measure plasma levels in the lower ionosphere, was delivered to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship on Tuesday, December 7, 2018. Once deployed, it will be the first operational satellite in orbit built by an Indiana higher education institution. The CubeSat will also measure its own internal and skin temperatures through the mission. It is expected to orbit the Earth for 15 months before returning through the Earth’s atmosphere, during which time its orbital decay will be measured.
UNITE was selected for flight by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and was one of two satellites launched for the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites-21 (ELaNa-21) mission complement, sponsored by the NASA Launch Services Program. The other was from San Jose State University. USI will also share a deployment date with CubeSats from Aarhus University in Denmark and John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
Team members plan to watch a live video feed of the deployment via WebEx. USI hopes to host a live feed of the students watching the deployment on the University Facebook page.
USI’s CubeSat deployment coincides with the 61st anniversary of the nation’s first artificial satellite deployment, Explorer 1, in 1958.
Photo Credit: submitted
Rendering of USI CubeSat in orbit.