Students hope to build CubeSat for NASA

Photo courtesy of California Space Grant

COD students presenting their RoverSat and High Attitude Ballooning Project at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center


By Luis E. Castellanos

Staff Writer

College of the Desert students were given the opportunity to take part in an internship with NASA from February 2017 to August 2017. Students also unveiled their creations throughout their time interning at NASA at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. This opportunity was created when both Professor Elshafie and Professor Perez, a Math instructor at COD, submitted a proposal to NASA for a student internship. The internship proposal was accepted on January 2017 and took effect February 26. COD students were able to take part in the internship and took part in building a CubeSat. A CubeSat is a satellite that is fairly small and can come in either 1 unit sizes or 3 unit sizes. When the CubeSat was finally finished and put up for display in August, the feedback given to the students was elite. The CubeSat was built to NASA’s professional standards.

In regards to CubeSats, NASA has submitted a proposal for anyone to build a CubeSat that will be launched free of charge if selected. The construction of a CubeSat can cost anywhere from 20 thousand to 30 thousand dollars depending on the size. Elshafie and Perez say they will ask the COD Alumni Foundation for support and strongly believe that COD will be a top contender among private institutions, universities and even NASA facilities. This thought came from the previous internship that COD attended and received positive feedback, according to Elshafie. If COD manages to win with their CubeSat, the students that took part will have a reserved spot during the launching of their CubeSat. The launching which costs over 300 thousand dollars will be entirely free for the winner making the cost of the CubeSat seem minimal.

The proposal for the donation to build the CubeSat will be submitted on a later date, but according to Elshafie, the proposal will come sooner than expected.

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