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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU students planning to reach the heavens with 45-pound satellite

New Mexico State University is one of 12 institutions selected recently to participate in the University Nanostat3 Program by the Air Force Office of Sponsored Research and NASA. The selection comes with $100,000 in funds for the next two years.

imary focus, from my point of view, is to help teach students how to design and build objects that can fly in space," said Stephen Horan, a professor at the university's Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "What NASA and the Air Force really want to come out of this program is to have the universities start teaching their science and engineering students how the real world really works in the space business."

Another aspect of the program is to get as many students to be actively involved in the development of the satellite, and to have students from all different disciplines work as a team, Horan said. Professors from engineering, physics and computer science will serve as mentors.

Students will have two years to create an 18-inch-by-18-inch working satellite. It must weigh no more than 45 pounds and it can have from six to eight sides.

If the satellite is selected for a flight, "the science mission for the satellite will be to look at ultraviolet radiation reflected back off the earth's atmosphere," Horan said. "The engineering mission will include trying out some battery technology and networking technology."

For more information on the University Nanostat3 Program, contact Horan at (505) 646-4856.