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North Dakota's First Spacecraft


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North Dakota's 1st Spacecraft gears up for December Launch


A low-cost miniature satellite that University of North Dakota students have been working on for five years is ready for testing ahead of its scheduled December launch.....

.....About 100 students, faculty and staff have chipped in on the project since it began in 2011. The team has now moved from the design phase to "fixing the things that don't work," Straub said. Most of the testing is being done through NASA, which last year ranked the project as the best of its kind in the nation.

Pretty cool.

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UND student satellite project closing in on launch date into space



Receiving enough funding consistently to purchase components can be difficult, so OpenOrbiter members sought to find a more inexpensive way to build a satellite through extensive planning sessions.

"As we broke it down further and further, the answer that we came up with is there's not really a whole lot of expense here, it's just knowledge that's kind of packed into the design, not really the components," Straub said.

So far, the satellite has an estimated price tag of about $2,500 to $3,000. Getting it into space will cost money, but NASA will foot the bill. UND's project took top honors in a competition hosted by NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellites program, winning a free ride into space.

The integration of the satellite to the space station will be handled by NanoRacks, a company that provides clients' services and hardware a path to the station.

Straub, Wegerson and others involved hope to watch their creation launch from a camera held by an astronaut.



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