USI’s CubeSat satellite to be deployed at 7:40 a.m. Thursday, January 31

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A satellite designed and built by University of Southern Indiana undergraduate students is scheduled for deployment into orbit from the International Space Station at approximately 7:40 a.m. Thursday, January 31. USI students will monitor the deployment from the UNITE Mission Operations Center in the Business and Engineering Center (BEC) on the USI campus, and anticipate receiving the satellite’s first transmission as early as 8:30 a.m.

The UNITE CubeSat satellite, built to measure plasma levels in the lower ionosphere, was delivered to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship on Tuesday, December 7, 2018. Once deployed, it will be the first operational satellite in orbit built by an Indiana higher education institution. The CubeSat will also measure its own internal and skin temperatures through the mission. It is expected to orbit the Earth for 15 months before returning through the Earth’s atmosphere, during which time its orbital decay will be measured.

UNITE was selected for flight by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and was one of two satellites launched for the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites-21 (ELaNa-21) mission complement, sponsored by the NASA Launch Services Program.The other was from San Jose State University. USI will also share a deployment date with CubeSats from Aarhus University in Denmark and John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.

Media members are invited to the BEC to cover the deployment – a live video feed of the deployment will be available via WebEx. While media are not able to be in the UNITE Mission Operations Center with the USI UNITE CubeSat team members during deployment, we plan to offer a live feed from the Mission Operations Center as well.

Members of the student team as well as the project’s faculty advisor Dr. Glen Kissel, associate professor of engineering, will be available for interview between time of the deployment at 7:40 a.m. and the time the initial transmission is expected at 8:30 a.m. This interview time is tentative and may be adjusted depending on deployment variables. All live feeds and interviews will take place in Room 1035 in the Business and Engineering Center, A map of campus that includes the BEC and nearby parking lots can be found at USI.edu/map. Please arrive by at least 7:30 a.m. if you plan to cover the deployment.

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