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Significance of Student-Built Spacecraft Design Programs: Its Impact on Spacecraft Engineering Education over the Last Ten Years

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Aerospace Curriculum and Collaborations

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Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1290.1 - 22.1290.17



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Paper Authors

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Sanjay Jayaram Saint Louis University, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology

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Michael Swartwout Saint Louis University

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Significance Of Student-Built Spacecraft Design Programs – It’sImpact On Spacecraft Engineering Education Over Last Ten Years ABSTRACTFor nearly 30 years, student-built space missions have provided an unique opportunityto launch small spacecraft with a small budget. Among the technical and educationalmerits of such projects, one significant outcome is the cross disciplinary training forundergraduate science and engineering students that prepares them for a future careerin industry. The experience of many schools in the U.S. and around the world indicatesthat hands-on, project-based education is very effective for recruiting, retaining andtraining engineering students. In the last decade, programs such as the AFRL-sponsored University Nanosat Program, the CanSat program, and especially theCubeSat standard have dramatically changed spacecraft engineering education. In anincredibly short period of time (especially by aerospace standards), such activities havehelped foster strong aerospace education programs in schools with no history of spaceactivity. In fact, it can be shown that the 'success' of these programs was a direct resultof their satellite-building activities. In this paper, we will discuss three related topics, (1)the status of the student-built space missions over last ten years, (2) the significance ofthese programs and their contributions to spacecraft engineering education andopportunities looking ahead, and (3) the broader impact of these programs on research,innovation and entrepreneurship.

Jayaram, S., & Swartwout, M. (2011, June), Significance of Student-Built Spacecraft Design Programs: Its Impact on Spacecraft Engineering Education over the Last Ten Years Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18345

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