Versant Astronomy Center Hosts Presentation on MESAT1 – The Maine Campus

On April 13, the WiSe-net lab gave a presentation on Maine’s first small satellite (MESAT1) at the University of Maine’s Versant Power Astronomy Center. The student team behind this launch includes Joseph Patton, PhD student and power system/project manager, Travis Russell, MSc student and radio engineer, and Steele Muchmore-Allen, 4+1 graduate student and flight engineer. These students are all part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maine and have been working on this project for two years.

The WiSe-Net laboratory was established in 2005 when Professor and Research Director, Dr. Ali Abedi came to UMaine. In 2008, the Lunar Habitat project was funded.

“This inflatable lunar habitat was given to us by NASA to perform leak detection and wireless sensing research in our lab,” Patton said. These inflate and go to the moon. Our research was related to the wireless sensing of different positions on the lunar habitat so that the robot could remotely deploy the habitat to the moon so that astronauts could go to the moon and have the habitat ready for them.

This project is the culmination of a decade of research and funding. The first wireless leak detection was tested at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. In 2010, the WiSe-Net lab received a grant to build a new lab, which was funded in 2013 to create the Wireless Leak Detection Research Project. This led to the development of a wireless leak detection system which was tested for the International Space Station in 2017. In 2019 the MESTAT1 project was funded and will now launch in 2022.

Maine’s first small MESAT1 satellite is set to launch on the Fireflyblack rocket in June, which will also carry three payloads created by students from Falmouth High School, Fryeburg Academy and Saco Middle School. UMaine and University of Southern Maine engineering groups are working together to build the satellite.

“Maybe in 10 to 20 years people will be thinking about space and thinking about Maine,” Patton said.

According to the NASA website, they selected 18 small research satellites from eleven states to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets launched in 2021, 2022, and 2023. These CubeSats, or nanosatellites, were offered by research institutions. education, non-profit organizations and NASA Centers after the call for applications. proposals.

“CSLI (CubeSat Launch Initiative) is an incredible opportunity that provides tremendous value to NASA and the universities and organizations that design and develop CubeSat missions. It’s the perfect win-win,” said Sam Fonder, Launch Services Program Manager. “Developers have the ability to build and test small spacecraft for space research. NASA can use this research to help achieve its mission goals.

UMaine will be launched alongside other CubeSat selections for this 11th round, with universities such as Dartmouth, University of California, Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge also providing materials to launch. Each of these missions will help future research on their own educational missions.

The MESAT1 will provide feedback for three studies. The first is the ALBEDO payload, which will examine the effects of albedo on temperature around rural and urban areas. Albedo is the fraction of solar radiation that is reflected back into space. The next study is the IMAGER payload, which will study a new low-cost remote sensing tool for coastal estuaries. The last is the HAB payload, which focuses on harmful algal blooms and whether they increase atmospheric temperature and water vapor levels in the atmosphere.

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