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Aerospace Enterprise Students Fire Payload Into Near-Space

Students launch small experimental payloads on high altitude balloons during the Student Hands-On Training (SHOT) workshop.

Photo by University Nanosatellite Program (UNP)

Michigan Tech University: HuskySat

University Nanosatellite Program


From Tech Today July 10, 2007

Four Aerospace Enterprise students traveled to Colorado recently for nuts-and-bolts training on shooting a payload into space.

The group was one of 10 nationwide that participated in the Student Hands-On Training, or SHOT, workshop, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s University Nanosatellite Program and held June 12-14 at the University of Colorado, in Boulder.

Armed with a laundry list of supplies provided by the Nanosat Program, the Michigan Tech students assembled a small, six-by-six-inch box loaded with the stuff of satellites: batteries, timers, circuitry, cameras, etc. Then they fastened it to a helium balloon, and sent it sailing 20 miles above the ground, into the stratosphere.

After the balloon finally burst, the payload floated gently back to Earth, courtesy of a parachute, and the students retrieved it by going to the GPS coordinates transmitted from an on-board radio.

“They did great,” said their advisor, Associate Professor Brad King (MEEM). “Their payload went up, performed as designed and survived the landing, and they retrieved it.”

The SHOT program is especially valuable for students interested in aerospace engineering. “They are taught how to solder, install thermal insulation, and other techniques involved in putting a payload together,” said King. “The way you do it in a space craft is different from doing it on a car.”

The participating students were Jeff Katalenich, Peter Radecki, Ryan Lemmens and Matt Killeen, all undergraduates majoring in mechanical engineering.


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July 9, 2007