College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Countdown is on for CySat-1 student project; your donation can help make history

The chance to make history will be riding into orbit with a student-led satellite project in Iowa State’s Department of Aerospace Engineering. And you have the opportunity to help make it a reality.

CySat LogoCyclone Satellite -1 (or CySat-1 for short) will be the first satellite from the state of Iowa built and launched by a team of students when it goes into space with NASA later this year. A design proposal submitted last year to the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) has been accepted by the space agency, and NASA has informed the group that the project is approved for launch in the third or fourth quarter of 2018.

International Space Station
The International Space Station will be the destination for CySat-1 when it launches later in 2018.

The launch will take CySat-1 to the International Space Station (ISS) where it will then be deployed into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in 2019. Once deployed, CySat-1 will use a state-of-the-art radiometer payload to read the earth’s surface and measure soil moisture. Data will

be transmitted to and from the satellite’s main control center on the Iowa State University campus. After demonstrating the platform’s functionality, CySat will collaborate with small businesses to provide access to LEO for private scientific payloads. CySat also plans to update the platform in the future to allow the payload to be tested on a target such as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) or the Moon.

Student with computer animation
A member of the CySat-1 team controls a computer animation of satellite components.

Typically with a project of this nature, there are a few expensive components which are required for the completion of CySat-1. Some of these include the attitude control systems, power generating solar cells, communications equipment, etc. Though the Department of Aerospace Engineering is assisting with the cost of this equipment as much as possible, the CySat team still needs your help for additional funds to allow for this landmark student project.

A goal of $10,000 raised has been set. You can contribute via a funding page set up by the Iowa State University Foundation. A video about the project is available on the page, along with more information.

M:2:I LogoThe project is associated with the Department of Aerospace Engineering’s Make to Innovate (M:2:I) program. Sponsored by Boeing, M:2:I engages students in hands-on projects to augment their understanding of engineering fundamentals through the free flow of design creativity. The CySat M:2:I mission is to give students the ability to apply knowledge gained in class to a real-life astronautics project.

The CySat program web site can be found here, with a page dedicated to CySat-1 here.

CySat students
The CySat students in early 2017 when the initial announcement about the project was made.