Is a satellite designed, built, and operated by undergraduate and graduate students from Cornell University. The project is led by an interdisciplinary team of engineers, scientists, and educators with the goal of providing hands-on experience in all aspects of spacecraft design, development, testing, and operations.
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EQUiSat was conceived as a technology demonstrator for a new type of orbital satellite called a 3U CubeSat. These satellites are small (about the size of a large shoe box), lightweight (usually less than 4 kg), and use standard, off-the-shelf components. This makes them relatively cheap and easy to build and operate, which is why they have become so popular in the amateur and educational satellite communities in recent years.
The Cornell team’s goal is to design and build a CubeSat that can be operated entirely by undergraduate students, with minimal supervision from professionals or graduate students. To this end, the satellite has been designed to be as simple and robust as possible. It uses only four types of electronic components, and all of its subsystems are redundant.
The Cornell team is currently in the process of testing and verifying EQUiSat’s design. Once complete, the satellite will be launched into orbit aboard a commercial rocket. In orbit, it will deploy its solar panels and begin generating electricity to power its systems. Once operational, EQUiSat will transmit a simple signal to Earth that can be received by amateur radio enthusiasts around the world.
EQUiSat is an exciting project that represents a new way of doing space science and engineering. If successful, it will be the first satellite operated entirely by undergraduates to be launched into orbit. The experience gained by the team members will be invaluable as they move on to careers in the space industry.