After a six-year countdown, the ASU student satellite is ready for launch.


Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona

Contact:
Gary Campbell, garycamp@asu.edu
(480) 965-7209

Sources: Helen Reed, (480) 965-2823

December 2, 1999

ASU Student Satellite Ready for Launch

After a six-year countdown, the ASU student satellite is ready for launch.

The satellite, a working model built by ASU students during a six-year period, will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base Dec. 7. The satellite will be one of several payload items headed for space and will be aboard a new Air Force Rocket, which includes portions of a Minuteman II missile, designed to deliver payload to space.

The launch is scheduled at about 7 p.m. but is subject to last minute changes or cancellation. The launch can be seen via a live Webcast at www.webcastingtv.com/jawsat/ , or if the weather is clear can be seen on the horizon to the west toward California. (A live video feed can be found Dec 7th, 2 to 8 p.m. at Telstar 4C / 4 Uplink Frequency: 6005 Downlink Frequency: 3780 / Horizontal).

"We are really excited to finally get it launched," says Helen Reed, the satellite program faculty adviser.

The student satellite program started in 1993, after a student approached Reed wanting to know if it was possible to build a satellite on campus. The two went to Orbital Sciences Corporation in Chandler and were told they would be given space on a future launch vehicle if they could build a fully functional but very small satellite. Launching a satellite typically costs close to $10,000 per pound.

The goal was to build a 10-pound satellite or a nano-satellite. Weighing in at just 10 pounds guaranteed the need to build specialized components.

"It was a very aggressive goal at that time," Reed said. "You have to design everything from a systems approach. Since it has to be so small you can't find a lot of components on the shelf."

The team was able to design the satellite, with the sponsorship and expertise from companies throughout the valley, but it kept getting bumped from the missions for various reasons. Reed said while waiting for a ride, the team redesigned the satellite three times, making better use of space and refining the tasks it will perform.

In the end, the satellite is able to perform a wide array of functions including mapping and imaging the globe. There is even a feature to allow HAM radio operators to bounce a signal off the satellite. Data from the satellite will be sent to a monitoring station at ASU as the unit passes 500 miles above the campus about five times each day.

Perhaps the biggest task the satellite will perform is to show what students, primarily undergraduates can do if given a challenge. More than 400 students, with a third of those female, have participated in the project.

"You really had to come in with a fresh piece of paper," she says. "These students had to come up with new ways of design."

Reed, and a group of students, both past and present, will attend the launch. A few of the students will even get to be in the control room as the vehicle is sent to space.

"After all this time, this is something we wouldn't miss for anything," Reed says.

- ASU -

Note to Editors: There will be a launch party at the ASU Sat Lab in Room 432 of the Engineering Research Center beginning at 6:30 to watch the live web cast. The rocket will also be visible to the west after launch so the typical UFO calls can be traced to the launch of the rocket. Students will also be in the lab at 3 a.m. to monitor the first transmissions from the satellite to ASU.

Faculty Advisor Helen Reed will leave for the launch on Sunday and can be reached at her office number until then. She can be reached beginning Monday through Gary Campbell at ASU Media Relations, (480) 965-7209.

Also enclosed is an Air Force Press release concerning specifics of the launch vehicle -- a former Minuteman ICBM.

For more information about the payloads, visit the JAWSAT website at: http://cast.weber.edu/jawsat/jawsat.html .

TRW, the OSP Space Launch Vehicle systems engineering and technical assistance contractor for Space and Missile Systems Center, will be providing a live web-cast and satellite feed of the launch.

SATELLITE INFO:
Dec 7th, 4 to 10 p.m. EST / 1 to 7 p.m. PST Telstar 4C / 4
Uplink Frequency: 6005
Downlink Frequency: 3780 / Horizontal

Those interested in viewing the webcast must first visit this site to register and receive a password: http://www.webcastingtv.com/jawsat/ .

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