Session

Pre-Conference Workshop Session 1: Coordinating Successful Educational Programs

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

The Space Weather Atmospheric Reconfigurable Multiscale Experiment (SWARM-EX) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored CubeSat mission distributed across six colleges and universities in the United States. The project has three primary goals: (1) contributing to aeronomy and space weather knowledge, (2) demonstrating novel engineering technology, and (3) advancing higher education. The scientific focus of SWARM-EX is to study the spatial and temporal variability of ion-neutral interactions in the equatorial Ionosphere-Thermosphere (I-T) region. Since the mission consists of three spacecraft operating in a swarm, SWARM-EX will take in-situ measurements of the neutral and ion composition on timescales of less than an orbital period to study the persistence and correlation between different phenomena in the I-T region. The engineering objectives of SWARM-EX are focused on advancing the state of the art in spacecraft formation flying. In addition to being the first passively safe, autonomous formation of more than two spacecraft, SWARM-EX will demonstrate several other key innovations. These include a novel hybrid propulsive/differential drag control scheme and the realization of a distributed aeronomy sensor. Asa project selected by the NSF for its broader impacts as well as its intellectual merit, SWARM-EX aims to use CubeSat development as a vehicle for education. The six collaborating institutions have varying levels of CubeSat experience and involve students who range from first-year undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates. These differences in knowledge, as well as the distributed nature of the program, present a tremendous educational opportunity, but also raise challenges such as cross-institutional communication and coordination, document sharing and file management, and hardware development. By detailing its procedures for overcoming these challenges, the SWARM-EX team believes that it may serve as a case study for the coordination of a successful CubeSat program distributed across multiple institutions.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

Share

COinS
 
Aug 7th, 12:00 AM

Coordinating Development of the SWARM-EX CubeSat Swarm Across Multiple Institutions

Utah State University, Logan, UT

The Space Weather Atmospheric Reconfigurable Multiscale Experiment (SWARM-EX) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored CubeSat mission distributed across six colleges and universities in the United States. The project has three primary goals: (1) contributing to aeronomy and space weather knowledge, (2) demonstrating novel engineering technology, and (3) advancing higher education. The scientific focus of SWARM-EX is to study the spatial and temporal variability of ion-neutral interactions in the equatorial Ionosphere-Thermosphere (I-T) region. Since the mission consists of three spacecraft operating in a swarm, SWARM-EX will take in-situ measurements of the neutral and ion composition on timescales of less than an orbital period to study the persistence and correlation between different phenomena in the I-T region. The engineering objectives of SWARM-EX are focused on advancing the state of the art in spacecraft formation flying. In addition to being the first passively safe, autonomous formation of more than two spacecraft, SWARM-EX will demonstrate several other key innovations. These include a novel hybrid propulsive/differential drag control scheme and the realization of a distributed aeronomy sensor. Asa project selected by the NSF for its broader impacts as well as its intellectual merit, SWARM-EX aims to use CubeSat development as a vehicle for education. The six collaborating institutions have varying levels of CubeSat experience and involve students who range from first-year undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates. These differences in knowledge, as well as the distributed nature of the program, present a tremendous educational opportunity, but also raise challenges such as cross-institutional communication and coordination, document sharing and file management, and hardware development. By detailing its procedures for overcoming these challenges, the SWARM-EX team believes that it may serve as a case study for the coordination of a successful CubeSat program distributed across multiple institutions.