By RYLEY WALKER/Montana State News
Two satellites built in part by Montana State University students rode into orbit on a Delta II rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Jan. 30.
David Klumpar, director of MSU’s Space Science Engineering Laboratory, said that the most important job for the satellites is, “gathering more information about the loss of electrons from the Van Allen Radiation Belts… Radiation in space affects Earth in a variety of ways, including interference with communication systems and power grids.”
MSU students built the satellites along with University of New Hampshire students and in collaboration with NASA.
Klumpar also said, “The opportunity our MSU students have to design and build sophisticated space flight hardware, get it launched on a NASA mission, and then actually operate their own satellite once it’s in space adds an incredibly important element to their education not available at most universities.”
The University of Hawaii also recently took part in a satellite-building project similar to MSU’s. The University of Hawaii System News explained that the satellite “Hoʻoponopono 2, or H2, the CubeSat represents cutting edge technology. It is about the size of a loaf of bread, weighs nine pounds, cost $220,000 to build and is replacing a satellite 20 times larger and 40 times more expensive.”
The satellite launched by the University of Hawaii students works flawlessly and hopefully this will be the case for the MSU satellite as well.
– Edited by Nicole Smith