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Satnews Daily
July 23rd, 2014

European Space Agency (ESA)—Students Preparing Aausat4 For Spatial Exercises (Launch Preparations)

[SatNews] As part of the European Space Agency (ESA)  education’s Fly Your Satellite! program, Aausat4 is a 10x10x10cm satellite (otherwise known as a CubeSat) that has been designed and built by students of the Aalborg University in Denmark.

Photo of aausat4 is courtesy of Jari Makinen.

The satellite will be sent into space and the students will have the chance to test it at ESA’s technical heart, ESTEC, in the Netherlands. This photo shows the miniature Aausat4 satellite undergoing repeated temperature variations in a vacuum chamber, cooling the CubeSat to –10 degrees Celsius and heating it to +45 degrees Celsius for more than two weeks. This harsh baptism will make sure that it can cope with the conditions in space.

The wires trailing from the satellite are to measure temperature and for power—it will fly without the wires and plastic casing. The satellite—Aausat4—will track ships around Greenland using radio identification signals. The satellite's predecessor, Aausat3, is reaching the end of its life after 18 months in space, having received 100,000 signals from ships in the first week alone. Aausat4 features a significant upgrade in software and better-protected solar panels that will deliver more power. ESA’s education program is supporting Aausat4 testing, and if the satellite confirms its flightworthiness, the Agency will sponsor a launch opportunity.

“Aausat4 is run and made by students,” said Mathias Mølgaard and Kasper Hemme, students from Aalborg University. “The systems are designed in-house and it has been a great help for completing our thesis.”

“ESA Education is offering interesting hands-on programmes to university students,” said Piero Galeone, program manager for Fly Your Satellite! “Students can participate in space programs under ESA supervision, and can use state-of-the-art facilities, acquainting themselves with concepts and work practice used by space professionals.”

Aausat5 will be a copy of this mode and will be released into space in 2015 by Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen during his nine-day mission on the International Space Station.

The ESA Fly Your Satellite! program infopage is located at http://www.esa.int/Education/Call_for_Proposals_Fly_Your_Satellite.