miércoles, 24 de noviembre de 2010
11/20/2010 College of Engineering
The first standalone satellite built by Michigan Engineering students to orbit the Earth and perform a science mission was successfully launched on Nov. 19, 2010 from Kodiak, Alaska.
The Radio Aurora Explorer, or RAX, weighs 6.5 pounds and is the size of a loaf of bread. Its first signals were detected by a HAM radio operator in Hawaii a few hours after launch. More details are at the RAX team website.
The satellite's primary mission is to study how plasma instabilities in the highest layers of the atmosphere disrupt communication and navigation signals between Earth and orbiting satellites. Working with scientists, students will use the data from RAX to build models that can forecast when these anomalies will occur, so that operators can plan for the disruptions. Watch a video about RAX.
Across the College, undergrads and grad students alike have opportunities to participate in space research projects. RAX is part of an impressive space enterprise at Michigan Engineering.
Students recently launched a weather balloon that reached the edge of space at 97,000 feet. Watch a video by the Detroit Free Press (3:41). Students routinely have the opportunity to test prototypes and conduct other experiments in microgravity as part of NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program.The 2010 team also took journalist Melissa Jun Rowley along for the weightless ride.
U-M faculty and researchers built or are involved with instruments on 14 spacecraft currently deployed throughout the solar system. A host of other orbiting or sub-orbital satellite projects are underway through the Space Physics Research Lab.