Vermont Lunar CubeSat Project
CubeSat is a small satellite, 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm and 1.33 kg. They can also be doubles (20 cm long) or triples (30 cm long). We have a NASA grant through the Vermont Space Grant Consortium of $195,000 led by Vermont Technical College with parts of the project done by Norwich University and University of Vermont faculty and students and St. Michaelís College students. The goal of the project is to develop the prototype technologies for a triple CubeSat that will be self propelled (chemical rockets, or ion drive) from a geosynchronous (communications satellite) launch to the moon. The chemical rocket would have a lunar lander, and the ion drive spacecraft would go into lunar orbit.
Both types of spacecraft need a navigation system to get from the earth to the moon. We are planning to use a NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center navigation software package that will use GPS and celestial navigation. We applied for a NASA Launch Opportunity that was announced in March, which would have a single CubeSat launched on a NASA mission into Earth orbit in 2012. The integration cost charged b y NASA is
$30,000 for everything associated with the launch. The current price for a single CubeSat launch is from $75,000 to $100,000, thus the NASA price is a great bargain. Of all the applications submitted to NASA for the launch opportunity, our was ranked number ten, and we were selected for a launch.
The single CubeSat for the launch opportunity will test our navigation system and use NASAís GPS Enhanced Onboard Navigation System (GEONS) software, a space qualified GPS receiver and a star tracker camera (being built a Norwich University). It will have an onboard computer system, solar power supply and radio transceiver to communicate with our ground station at Vermont Tech. We are the only group in the world working on a CubeSat to go to the moon. The colleges who were awarded launch opportunities are: Auburn University, California Polytechnic State University of Michigan, Utah State, and Vermont Technical College. As you can see, we are in prestigious company.
Vermont Space Grant Consortium will be funding $15,000 or the $30,000 launch costs and we need to raise the remaining $15,000. We have been notified when NASA will require full payment. We anticipate it will be in late 2010 or early 2011. Therefore, we would greatly appreciate contributions toward our goal of raising the $15,000 needed. This would ensure the launch opportunity for our first Vermont spacecraft, along with those from the other fine colleges and universities across the nation.
For further information contact:
Dr. Carl S., Brandon, Director
Dr. William D. Lakin, Director,
TO DONATE AND HELP SUPPORT THE VERMONT LUNAR CUBESATE PROJECT
If you would like to contribute
to the Vermont Lunar CubeSat Project, please mail a check payable to:
Laurel Zeno' Contact