What is UCubeSat?

UCubeSat students at a conference.

The CubeSat Club at the University of Utah (UCubeSat) is a student-run organization that “seeks to provide opportunities for students to get involved in a space-related engineering project by researching, designing, and launching a CubeSat [satellite] into space.” With 25 current members forming five distinct teams, the UCubeSat club works on engineering projects, networks with industry members, and conducts outreach to local schools. Being part of UCubeSat is an unparalleled opportunity for U of U students looking to get involved in space-related engineering.

CubeSat at the U

UCubeSat has a variety of projects in progress, from community outreach to hands-on engineering. Right now, their current mission design is a “real-time virtual reality control system with gyroscopic altitude controls and a live wide-angle camera feed from Low Earth Orbit.” As they design this CubeSat for launch, they have two goals: first, to test the NASA-developed LISA-T system that will transform a CubeSat into one large antenna and satellite, which would allow the small satellite to gather more detailed information; second, to gather spherical imagery from Low Earth Orbit that could then be used to develop virtual reality content. The UCubeSat club is hoping to launch within the next two years, depending on the availability of funding.

Students in the UCubeSat club recently attended an invite-only JPL/NASA conference in which they learned about the F’ software that they will be using as their flight software.

UCubeSat students at JPL.

A Student’s Story

UCubeSat President Tenace Crane.

To keep itself organized, the UCubeSat club is split into five different teams: software, mechanical, avionics and payload, telemetry, and photovoltaics and power. Each team is managed by a student leader, while the club as a whole is run by a “C-suite” of students. The current UCubeSat president, senior Tenace Crane, has found nothing but opportunity in his involvement with UCubeSat.

Crane started in UCubeSat as a member of the avionics and payload team, before leading the avionics and payload team and eventually being selected as the club president. In Crane’s time with UCubeSat, he’s been able to attend NASA workshops, network with high-end engineering companies like L3Harris and Northrup Grummon, work on developing a CubeSat satellite, and more.

As Crane approaches his graduation, he looks to the past with gratitude at the opportunities UCubeSat provided him—and he looks to the future with excitement for future UCubeSat club members. The whole point of UCubeSat, says Crane, is to “provide opportunities” to its members. Whether those opportunities are learning directly from NASA, building space-ready satellites, or inspiring the future generation of engineers, they’re all available by being involved in the UCubeSat club.

Getting Involved in UCubeSat

If space-related engineering, engaging further with engineering work, meeting community partners, and networking with companies sounds intriguing to you, then the UCubeSat club is the place to be. Get involved with the UCubeSat club and discover what opportunities await you.

Written by Marlee Jeppsen.