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Implementing A Satellite Design Experience

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.320.1 - 3.320.6

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Paper Authors

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Scott A. Starks

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Reza Torkzadeh

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Michael E. Austin

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3280

Implementing a Satellite Design Experience

Scott A. Starks, Michael E. Austin, Reza Torkzadeh and Bryan Usevitch University of Texas at El Paso


This paper describes the planning effort behind the implementation of a satellite design experience for students. This effort has been conducted by faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) working in cooperation with counterparts at California State University, Los Angeles and North Carolina A&T State University and scientific and technical staff from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To date, this activity has been directed toward the goal of securing funding from NASA under the University Explorer (UNEX) Program of the Office of Space Science to support designing, building and launching a satellite dedicated to the taking of solar irradiance measurements.

We envision UTEP students drawn from the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Information and Decision Sciences as being directly involved in the design of satellite subsystems, in addition to Mission Operations functions. Additionally, students will be directly involved in the archival, distribution and processing of scientific data and data products. Curricular enhancements which are being undertaken at UTEP to accommodate an activity of this importance will be presented. Aspects of project management being employed to coordinate activities among the partnering institutions will also be discussed.

University Explorer Program and Proposed Science Mission

The objective of NASA’s UNEX Program is to conduct space science research where total costs for definition, development, launch service and mission operations and data analysis costs do not exceed $13 million. The UNEX Program is one that allows consortia of universities and collaborating organizations to compete for funding to support development of a student-designed satellite. In addition to universities, our consortium includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Space Exploration Engineering. The three university partners serve large numbers of underrepresented minority students. This proposed activity builds upon a previous effort conducted during the summer of 1996 at JPL which brought together students and faculty for a satellite-design experience [1].

As it turns out, the "solar constant" is not constant after all, and there is a 20-year history of measurements from Nimbus and the Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor (ACRIM I) spacecraft instrumentation that is heritage to our planned mission. It is the

Starks, S. A., & Torkzadeh, R., & Austin, M. E. (1998, June), Implementing A Satellite Design Experience Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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