CU Boulder and LASP have a long history of involving students in every aspect of spacecraft production. The most recent incarnation is the Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) CubeSat, which was sent to the International Space Station with resupply cargo and then deployed from the airlock in May 2016. Students were heavily involved in the design, manufacturing, assembly, extensive testing, and delivery of MinXSS to Houston; and they continue to be involved in the mission operations, data pipeline production, and science analysis.
CubeSats are comparatively low cost for spacecraft and, as such, the programs tend to accept more risk, the result of which is a higher rate of failure. The ongoing MinXSS-1 mission has exceeded comprehensive success criteria, has been featured by NASA, and was the first NASA-funded science CubeSat to be launched.
The lead student for MinXSS (now a LASP research scientist), James Mason, will discuss how the team ensured the success of MinXSS. He’ll describe some of the early results from the MinXSS-1 mission, which focus on the energetic processes that occur in the solar corona. Finally, James will reveal the lessons learned from MinXSS-1; fortunately, the team built two satellites so they can apply those lessons on MinXSS-2, scheduled to launch in the first half of 2017.
Watch the public lecture: