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Taylor Small Satellite Completes Final Pre-launch Tests – NASA Flight is Scheduled Early Next Year

By Jim Garringer Published: Oct 10, 2013

The Taylor CubeSat

A small satellite designed and built by Taylor University engineering students has completed final pre-launch tests and is set to be delivered to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for launch in early 2014.

The Taylor satellite was chosen by NASA as part of its ELaNa V (Education Launch of Nanosatellite - 5th launch) program. The satellite, or CubeSat, will fly with small satellites designed and built by Ames Research Laboratory, the Colorado Space Grant Consortium and Cornell University. The four emerged from a field of 33 designs and proposals fielded by NASA during a nationwide competition. After launch, the CubeSats will conduct technology demonstrations, educational research or science missions.

CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than three pounds. Taylor’s CubeSat includes instrumentation that will test communications between other satellites and measure plasma in low earth orbit.

When Taylor’s satellite flies early next year, it will mark the third such piece of space hardware to fly into space that was designed and built by students in Taylor’s engineering program. Additionally, five Taylor Physics and Engineering students presented the ELEO (Extremely Low Earth Orbit) Satellite Project at the CubeSat Workshop, Small Sat Conference and Air Force Design Review in Logan, Utah. Taylor officials believe a fourth Taylor CubeSat will be approved for flight as part of that program.

According to Principal Investigator Dr. Hank Voss, Taylor was the only university in the competition where the student work was performed exclusively by undergraduate students. Taylor students, faculty and staff have also pioneered the use of weather balloons for near space exploration – a program that has been replicated at numerous universities, secondary schools and businesses.