SWE Collegiates Launch Satellite into Near Space
Members of SWE's University of the Pacific Section successfully launched a satellite into near space on November 22 from the Nevada desert, and they have the photos and video to prove it. The project was a joint effort involving the University of the Pacific, Tierra Luna Engineering, JP Aerospace, and Mexico's Universidad Popular Autnoma del Estado de Puebla.
At WE15 in Nashville, the Pacific team won second place and $2,500 for their research on the project, which was part of The Boeing Company Team Tech Competition. The competition is designed to illustrate the importance of teamwork and create opportunities for engineering students to work with and learn from established engineers.
Delia Davila, a SWE collegiate and Pacific bioengineering major from Stockton, CA, said the test launch was supposed to take place before WE15, but it was delayed due to rainy weather.
"If we had the photos from the launch in our presentation at WE15, maybe we would have won first place in the competition," she said laughing.
The satellite is called a "CubeSat" because of its shape. It was attached to a high-altitude balloon and took photos from about 100,000 feet above Earth before landing safely on the ground. Some day it could be used to monitor volcanic activity in Mexico.
— Jose Hernandez (@Astro_Jose) November 23, 2015
The frame of the CubeSat was created using a university 3-D printer. One side is decorated with a stuffed Pacific Tiger and a SWE logo, while cameras on the other sides of the cube take photos. The students wrote software to determine which photos show Earth and which ones show space.