Session

Technical Poster Session 4: Education

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

The Ke Ao satellite is a low-cost 1U CubeSat designed and developed by an undergraduate team of engineering students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) in collaboration with the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL). The primary goal of the mission is to take one or more pictures from space and automatically identify the Hawaiian Islands using Machine Learning Algorithms - this will demonstrate improved onboard operational autonomy in space. A secondary goal of this project is to promote Aerospace Education and Workforce training in Hawaii. The Ke Ao project was inspired by the Hiapo CubeSat initiative of the Hawaii Science and Technology Museum as a unique platform used to provide engaging meaningful hands-on STEM curriculum for Hawaii students K-12. The realization that low-cost flight hardware, in the order of ~$10k, is practically non-existent, and therefore the barrier to launch a flight-capable CubeSat is still high for small organizations and schools with low budgets. The Ke Ao project started in the Fall of 2019 with the Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) Aerospace Technologies with Electrical, Mechanical, and Computer Science Engineering Students at UH and continued to be facilitated under the Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Course within the College of Engineering throughout the year of 2020. The project was impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic but this enabled the student team to improve on the design and simulations. Hiapo and Ke Ao also inspired the NASA Artemis CubeSat Kit project being developed at the HSFL. The Artemis CubeSat Kit will be used as an educational tool for teaching aerospace and distribution in the public domain. The development of these three CubeSats allowed for synergistic development and multipurpose designs and gave the students a wide breadth of design experiences. This paper will expand on the design and development for the main objectives for Ke Ao (1) take one or more pictures of the Hawaiian Islands from space; (2) cost shall be no more than $10,000 with built parts; and (3) launch-ready via the NASA CSLI application and requirements. To address these objectives Ke Ao uses spaceflight capable but low-cost hardware flown in previous CubeSat missions and consists of seven primary subsystems: Attitude Determination and Control System, Communications, Electrical Power Systems, On-Board Computer and Flight Software, Payload, Structure and Mechanisms, and Thermal Control Systems. Ke Ao will use onboard magnetic torquers to control the attitude of the payload and take pictures of the Hawaiian Islands. The data will be transmitted to the HSFL ground stations in Hawaii and through the SatNOGS ground station network across the World. Ke Ao’s mission and primary goals are in line with the 2018 NASA Strategic Plan’s Strategic Objective 3.3 to Inspire and Engage the Public in Aeronautics, Space, and Science and contribute to the Nation’s science literacy.

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Aug 7th, 12:00 AM

Ke Ao: A Low-Cost 1U CubeSat for Aerospace Education and Research in Hawaii

Utah State University, Logan, UT

The Ke Ao satellite is a low-cost 1U CubeSat designed and developed by an undergraduate team of engineering students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) in collaboration with the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL). The primary goal of the mission is to take one or more pictures from space and automatically identify the Hawaiian Islands using Machine Learning Algorithms - this will demonstrate improved onboard operational autonomy in space. A secondary goal of this project is to promote Aerospace Education and Workforce training in Hawaii. The Ke Ao project was inspired by the Hiapo CubeSat initiative of the Hawaii Science and Technology Museum as a unique platform used to provide engaging meaningful hands-on STEM curriculum for Hawaii students K-12. The realization that low-cost flight hardware, in the order of ~$10k, is practically non-existent, and therefore the barrier to launch a flight-capable CubeSat is still high for small organizations and schools with low budgets. The Ke Ao project started in the Fall of 2019 with the Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) Aerospace Technologies with Electrical, Mechanical, and Computer Science Engineering Students at UH and continued to be facilitated under the Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Course within the College of Engineering throughout the year of 2020. The project was impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic but this enabled the student team to improve on the design and simulations. Hiapo and Ke Ao also inspired the NASA Artemis CubeSat Kit project being developed at the HSFL. The Artemis CubeSat Kit will be used as an educational tool for teaching aerospace and distribution in the public domain. The development of these three CubeSats allowed for synergistic development and multipurpose designs and gave the students a wide breadth of design experiences. This paper will expand on the design and development for the main objectives for Ke Ao (1) take one or more pictures of the Hawaiian Islands from space; (2) cost shall be no more than $10,000 with built parts; and (3) launch-ready via the NASA CSLI application and requirements. To address these objectives Ke Ao uses spaceflight capable but low-cost hardware flown in previous CubeSat missions and consists of seven primary subsystems: Attitude Determination and Control System, Communications, Electrical Power Systems, On-Board Computer and Flight Software, Payload, Structure and Mechanisms, and Thermal Control Systems. Ke Ao will use onboard magnetic torquers to control the attitude of the payload and take pictures of the Hawaiian Islands. The data will be transmitted to the HSFL ground stations in Hawaii and through the SatNOGS ground station network across the World. Ke Ao’s mission and primary goals are in line with the 2018 NASA Strategic Plan’s Strategic Objective 3.3 to Inspire and Engage the Public in Aeronautics, Space, and Science and contribute to the Nation’s science literacy.