NASA is helping engineering students of the University of Illinois to launch a satellite that costs about a million dollar.
The aspiring engineers from the university as well as the institution are hoping that the technology will be of great help in science in the coming years. The satellite, called as CubeSail has been in the making for almost ten years.
Despite the number of the spacecraft from different agencies, space is still full of mysteries. Dawn Haken, team leader of the project, said many things in the universe are hard to understand.
With the expert help from NASA, the engineering students were able to create a unique satellite. Haken also added that they have to put CubeSail in space. It needs to work as functional as possible for longer years.
The long wait and hard work are about to end as the liftoff of the satellite will be in May in New Zealand. Everyone shows interest whether the project will be a success or not. NASA and the team from the university hope that it will perform in a way they have ever imagined.
CubeSail has a size that is similar to a shoebox. It has a solar sail system, which is a light reflective material. As the sun hits the sail, the satellite will surely move along. Its solar sail is 820 feet long. It is wound up into two halves to ensure it splits apart into two different satellites when it reaches the space.
The technology that the UI engineering students developed is far different from what exists at present. They are indeed talented and a big inspiration to future engineers, scientists and other professionals in the industry.
The solar sail technology of today will never allow you to steer. You can employ it to accelerate the satellite. However, once you are up to a particular speed if you are eager to go to Jupiter, stay there, and take pictures, there is a need to slow down and find out which it can perform best.
Once the CubeSail reaches the space, the students will communicate with the satellite thru radio waves. Justin Frank, the team member, said that they are still looking at magnetic fields, temperatures and light they will be getting from CubeSail. With that, there is a big chance that they will be able to uncover a significant mystery in space.
When it is launched, it will take a year and a half to get it down to the perfect altitude to deploy the sail. Right after that, the group will gather pictures and data before it burns away.