Some Medgar Evers College (MEC) faculty and students are preparing to launch their work into low-earth orbit on a NASA Atlas V Rocket. CUNYSAT-1, the first satellite of the CUNYSAT program, based at MEC, will be launched in December, 2013 as part of NASA’s ElaNa II/GEMSAT mission. The CUNYSAT-1, a class of cube-shaped research nanosatellites called CubeSats traditionally launched as a part of larger NASA missions, will be monitoring satellite spin and battery and solar panel efficiencies. CUNYSAT-1 has already been integrated into the launch vehicle and is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air force Base in California.
Dr. Shermane Austin, Director of the CUNYSAT program and Professor of Computer Science at Medgar Evers College, stated, “It is really exciting to come full circle on this project. This has been a learning process for both faculty and students and we are really excited about the upcoming launch.” The CUNYSAT Microsatellite program was initiated with a Minority-Serving Partnership Award from the NASA National Space Grant Program in 2009. The proposal was submitted in conjunction with Cornell University, where the NASA New York State Space Grant Consortium is based. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Austin and the co-Principal Investigator, at that time, was Dr. Mason Peck of Cornell. Dr. Peck is now NASA’s Chief Technology Officer.
CubeSats are launched into orbit by NASA at no cost to selected colleges and universities under the ElaNa program. Medgar Evers College is the first predominately minority institution chosen for the initiative. CUNYSAT-1 included student participation from several CUNY campuses, including: Medgar Evers College, the City College of New York, the College of Staten Island, Queensborough Community College and Brooklyn College. Students from Cooper Union, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Cornell University also participated in CUNYSAT-1 development. CUNYSAT-1 was supported by the National Space Grant Program, the New York State Grant Consortium, the NASA-funded CUNY/GSFC Heliophysics Education Consortium and United Technologies Aerospace Systems. Faculty mentors included Dr. Shermane Austin, Dr. Leon Johnson and Dr. Armando Howard from Medgar Evers College, Dr. Paul Marchese, Queensborough Community College and Michael Fortney, University of Vermont.
CUNYSAT-1 is a 1U CubeSat following the form factor developed by Stanford University and California Polytechnic University. MEC students and faculty are proud to be the home of CUNY’s first satellite.
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About Medgar Evers College
Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Medgar Evers College is a growing institution offering both Associate and Baccalaureate degrees. The nearly 7,000-member student body is primarily comprised of those who are the first in their families to attend college. A senior college within The City University of New York (CUNY) system, Medgar Evers College was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community. With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education. For more information, visit www.mec.cuny.edu.