USC Nano-Satellite Blasts Off From Cape Canaveral on SpaceX
USC-Northrop Grumman-Applied Minds CAERUS package in 90-minute orbit, testing communications unit
December 09, 2010 - All systems were go -- and went perfectly --
December 8 at Cape Canaveral, with the newly developed Falcon 9
heavy lift vehicle sending into earth orbit NASA's Dragon capsule,
accompanied by a number of nanosatellites including a unit developed
by the Space
Engineering Research Center. SERC is a joint effort between ASTE
and ISI, providing critical support to both student involvement and
the very fast timeline to develop the spacecraft as well as a mobile
ground station equipped with a 3-meter tracking dish.
The nanosatellite, a 3U cubesat called "MAYFLOWER", is a Next Generation
Technology Nanosatellite that is a joint effort with Northrop
Grumman NOVAWORKS division. USC provided a 1U unit, called CAERUS
(the Greek word for "opportunity") to support communications. Its
development at USC was originated and led by David Barnhart,
with him, his colleague Tim Barrett, and their team working with
Northrop Grumman NOVAWORKS division and SERC researchers and
students (led by Professors Joseph Kunc and Dan Erwin) to add a
compact and robust communication package to the entire 3U
nanosatellite bus. Some parts of CAERUS were supplied by
Inc., the renowned Cubesat developer. The nanosatellite is orbiting
around the earth about every 90 minutes at an altitude of more than
300 kilometers. (Details on the project and its current orbit can be
Barrett, technical specialist Jeff Sachs, and a team of students
from ASTE and other departments at USC led by Will Bezouska and
Michael Aherne delivered CAERUS in May 2010 just fourteen weeks
after receiving authorization to proceed on the project.
This was only the 2nd flight of Space X's Falcon 9 vehicle, with the
first launch of the company's "Dragon" man-rated reusable capsule.
This was the very first commercial flight of a recoverable capsule
demonstrating the ability to carry astronauts to the International
Space Station (ISS), truly a breakthrough for the private space
industry in the United States.
"Indeed, it's a good day for USC," said Joseph Sullivan, Assistant
Director at Information Sciences Institute. "It is amazing what can
be accomplished in hands-on programs with students with a passion for
space" said Joseph Kunc, the Faculty Advisor to the students.
The USC team will go back into space in 2012 with a different
satellite project, this time a 3U CubeSat called AENEAS.