Launch of AggieSat-supported satellites successful

An Atlas-5 carrying a classified spacecraft and 11 other small satellites, including several satellites supported by Texas A&M University's AggieSat Lab, was successfully launched out of Vandenberg Air Force Base Sept. 13.

Four of these other satellites are flying through NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite program that works with schools to give students real-life experience in the space business. Institutions launching CubeSats are the University of California, Berkeley, University of Colorado at Boulder, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Morehead State.

In addition, the NRO's Mission Support Directorate is enabling seven satellites to fly from the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, the Aerospace Corporation, the University of Southern California and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Among these seven small satellites are four that AggieSat Lab has supported directly and indirectly. Three of them are built by The Aerospace Corp. and will use the new ground station unit many AggieSat Lab students helped install these past two months at the Texas A&M's Riverside Campus. This ground station features an articulated two-meter satellite dish and will be networked together with units in California and Florida to provide command and telemetry coverage across the United States.

Dr. Helen Reed, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and director of the AggieSat Lab, says that in the coming weeks and months the AggieSat team's goal is to learn to use and support the ground station system. This will be a resource that will contribute to this mission and future missions, both for AggieSat Lab and The Aerospace Corp.

The fourth small satellite, part of the STARE program with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Naval Post Graduate School, is one AggieSat Lab has supported via detailed structural and thermal analyses.

Launch and operations information and updates are available online. See http://aggiesatweb.tamu.edu and https://str.llnl.gov/AprMay12/pdfs/4.12.pdf for more information.