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Taylor Small Satellite Launched

Published: Apr 18, 2014

Today's Falcon 9 launch

Following three launch delays, the Taylor University nanosatellite was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Good Friday afternoon.

The small satellite, which had been designed and built by Taylor University engineering students, blasted away at 3:25 p.m., and was deployed shortly after launch. 

According to Dr. Hank Voss, Taylor physics professor and the project’s principal investigator, postponements of launches are not unusual due to the myriad of factors required for a safe, successful launch. 

The Taylor satellite, or CubeSat, was transmitting data to Taylor students and faculty within minutes of its launch. It was carried aloft with other small satellites designed and built by Ames Research Laboratory, Colorado Space Grant Consortium, and Cornell University - all of which were chosen by NASA as part of its ELaNa V (Education Launch of Nanosatellite – 5th launch) program. 

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.

Taylor’s CubeSat 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.

The Taylor CubeSat is the third such piece of space hardware to fly into space 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.

Voss said 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.