Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kentucky University Cubelab Testing


What can happen when creative, talented and motivated high school students are turned loose to experiment in space, to do real science aboard the International Space Station?

Undergoing power and fit checks and a stint in the vacuum chamber, an elegant and sophisticated CubeLab payload from Valley Christian High School in San Jose went through a battery of mission readiness tests this week at the Kentucky Space labs at the University of Kentucky. Containing its own growing environment and monitoring system designed by students at Valley Christian, the two-unit CubeLab will record and relay data on plant growth in an effort to answer questions related to the effect of micro-gravity on the cultivation of plants in long duration space flight.

The payload is currently scheduled to go to the ISS in February aboard the Japanese HTV-2.

Kentucky Space enjoys regular access and egress from the station thanks to a strategic partnership with NanoRacks, LLC, and is currently working with customers needing to do repeatable, low-cost microgravity research. Each NanoRacks Platform - there are two on station now - hosts up to sixteen mini plug-and-play CubeLab modules, or combinations of labs such as the two-unit from Valley Christian shown here. Your payload inquiries are welcome.

If you are reading this news entry via our syndicated feed, video of the first platform being installed powered up on the ISS can be seen on the Kentucky Space web site.


Oct 19, 2010

http://www.kentuckyspace.com/images/stories/kysat-1_flight-model.jpgHaving passed a tough mission readiness review, KySat-1 has been cleared to be integrated as a secondary payload on the NASA climate mission, Glory.

Launch is currently scheduled for February, 2011.

Here is a picture of the spacecraft on the bench at a Kentucky Space lab at the University of Kentucky. It will soon be delivered to CalPoly, which will integrate it into the Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer, or PPOD, a standard launcher that deploys CubeSats once they have reached space.

KySat-1 incorporates S-band radio, a camera and the ability to talk to school children on playgrounds across the commonwealth.


Oct 18, 2010

http://www.kentuckyspace.com/images/stories/img_0710.jpgBack from the International Space Station, CubeLab-2 was de-integrated today at Space Systems Lab at the University of Kentucky, which will compare the effects of radiation in space on the flown payload to an identical, control cube at the university.

CubeLabs are miniature plug-and-play labs powered by the NanoRacks Platform, each of which can host up to 16 of the experimental modules. Two racks are currently on the ISS.

In this video, watch astronaut Shannon Walker install the first NanoRacks Platform.

Thanks to its strategic partnership with NanoRacks, Kentucky Space enjoys regular access and egress from the station and is actively working with customers needing affordable, repeatable micro-G research opportunities.


Oct 15, 2010

In this animation, the entry, descent, landing and sample acquisition of the Mars Science Laboratory can be seen.

And in an update posted last week, NASA pointed out that one of the several instruments on board, the sample analysis instrument (SAM) is currently undergoing thermal and vibration tests to ensure that the payload can survive the jarring launch and cold journey to Mars. Likewise, the engineers at Kentucky Space do much the same thing to ensure that our orbital craft are flight worthy.

Look for news on the Kentucky Space orbital program soon.

The mass spectrometer, gas chromatograph, and tunable laser spectrometer, which collectively make up SAM, will assess, along with the other instrumentation, whether the planet has ever been, or might currently, host microbial life.

SAM will soon ship to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for integration into the SUV-sized rover, which underwent its first mobility tests earlier this year.

Curiosity will leave for Mars next year and arrive in 2013.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Project Dead lines

By October 18th the Cube lab will be sent for out gassing testing.

Also on October 18th another prototype cube lab will be sent for integration testing.

Lastly on November 20th the fight unit will be set and ready to be shipped to the Japanese rocket.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting the test model ready.

Valley Christian's International Space Station team is getting ready to test their first experimental cube lab. The testing will occur from October 4th through the end of November. They experimental module will go through numerous and rigorous testing. The testing will consist of an electromagnetic Interference test that will take place at Huntsville, Alabama at Marshall Flight Space Center. There will also be out gassing tests at the University of Kentucky. The acoustic and vibration testing have been cancelled due to the protection provided by the ESD material on the Japanese booster. Also the depressurization testing will be done at the University of Kentucky, the module will be depressurized from 14.8 PSI down to 4 PSI at an interval of 30 seconds. All this must be done to insure the sucess of the project.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Project Overview
This program will be a Summer 2010 program AND an after school program that will run during the 1st semester of the 2010/11 school year. Students must be enrolled in the AMSE Program in order to be on the ISS Project Team. Students may enroll into the AMSE Program here: /quicklinks/mathscience/hs-application if they will be a high school student during the Fall, 2010 term. NOTE: Applications to be part of the ISS Project Team are now closed.

Mr. SaldanaThe project will be guided by Mr. Dan Saldana (retired satellite design engineer) as well as a few other professionals in related fields. Students will work as a team to plan, design, program, build, test & document several printed circuit boards to interface with a science experiment (TBD) inside the CUBE-LAB. The entire CUBE-LAB project fits into a 4” x 4” x 4” aluminum box with a USB connector. The CUBE-LAB will be connected to the ISS astronaut’s computer via a USB cable and the data will be downloaded to VCHS each day, for 30 days, once the payload is in orbit at the ISS. This data will be aggregated and analyzed daily by the ISS Project Team. This is expected to happen during the February --> March 2011 timeframe

The project steps will be recorded in a documentary video that will be filmed and produced by VCHS students.

IV. Student Time Commitment
Since the launch date is currently expected to be in February of 2011 (see section V, below) , we are required to have the student built CUBE-LAB completed and ready to deliver to the University of Kentucky by early to mid November 2010 for pre-launch testing. The University of Kentucky will do all testing at their site and then forward our CUBE-LAB to Cape Canaveral. Our students will have done many pre-tests prior to shipment to the University of Kentucky.

In order to meet this aggressive schedule, VCS will select the ISS Project Student Team members by the end of April 2010 and start working on the project with the student during the summer of 2010; and, it will continue through the 1st semester of the 2010-2011 school year. During the first quarter of 2011, data from the CUBE-LAB aboard the ISS will be downloaded to the students and it will aggregated, analyzed, and a report will be written by the students on their findings.

The time commitment for a student on ISS Project team is in three parts, as follows:

Part-I: Summer 2010 (45 Hours):

July 12-16 1:30-4:30PM
July 19-23 1:30-4:30PM
July 26-30 1:30-4:30PM

Part-II: August – October 2010-2011 (55 hours)

Weekly, after school Tuesdays and Thursday (2 hours each day)*
Weekly, Saturday AM (2 hours)*

*Note: Some students may not be able to meet all three days (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) each week during the school year. Students needing to be excused from certain meeting dates will need to work with the ISS project team to stay current with their work commitments on this project.

Part-II February – March 2011 (35 hours)

The project experiment aboard the ISS will be monitored for 30 days during Q1 of 2011. Students from the project team will aggregate data daily (1hr x 30days) and report (5hrs) on this project by the end of March.

Students are also expected to work this project aside from the above schedule times if work is not completed during the project team meeting times.

The ISS Project goal is for students to be able to balance their school commitments with the success of the ISS Project. All students that participate in this program have much to gain if the project is a success.

V. Project Timeline

project schedule

Click here for a larger image of the project schedule

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Valley Christian Cubelab Experiment Signing

Valley Christian Schools is pleased to announce an agreement with NanoRacks, LLC to secure a space for the first high schoolCliff  signing student-built CUBE-LAB microgravity experiment aboard the International Space Station. NanoRacks, LLC is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. 

The project begins immediately with the selection of students from Valley Christian Schools new K-12 Applied Mathematics, Science and Engineering Institute (AMSE).

The CUBE-LAB experiment is expected to fly to the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station during the 1st Quarter of 2011. 

Students will aggregate and analyze their data each day upon transmission to earth. Valley Christian Schools’ AMSE Institute students will produce a video documentary to inspire students from other high schools to launch similar projects. Valley Christian Schools made the agreement with NanoRacks, LLC to secure a space for the microgravity experiment aboard the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station in collaboration with the Quest Institute for Christian Education.