Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

group

Authors' Class Standing

Benjamin Banner, Senior Ethan Deweese, Sophomore Austin Gleydura, Sophomore Christian Junio, Senior Ryan Kressler, Senior John Olafson, Senior Michael Pope, Senior Michael Weinhoffer, Senior Timeo Williams, Sophomore

Lead Presenter's Name

Michael Weinhoffer

Faculty Mentor Name

Kimberly Szathmary

Abstract

Members of the Spaceflight Sciences, Policy, and Operations Club (SSPOC) are designing a 1U CubeSat, the Polar Cloud Satellite, that will host an ultraviolet instrument that will image noctilucent clouds. Noctilucent clouds, formally called polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs), are clouds made of ice particles and water vapor that form in the polar regions of the Earth at altitudes ranging from 76 to 85 kilometers. The formation of PMCs at much lower latitudes than usual since their discovery in the 1980s can possibly be linked to increased carbon dioxide output by humans. NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite was launched in 2007 to study these clouds and how they form. Our team plans to purchase and integrate an ultraviolet instrument that will be used to image PMCs, but with a much smaller satellite than AIM. We hope to collaborate with an AIM institution at some level, such as data comparison with AIM’s images. Our team will assemble and test the satellite bus and its systems, integrate the ultraviolet payload, and operate the mission from a spaceflight operations center on campus, perhaps in the College of Aviation’s Department of Applied Aviation Sciences.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

No

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The Polar Cloud Satellite: The First CubeSat Mission to Study Noctilucent Clouds

Members of the Spaceflight Sciences, Policy, and Operations Club (SSPOC) are designing a 1U CubeSat, the Polar Cloud Satellite, that will host an ultraviolet instrument that will image noctilucent clouds. Noctilucent clouds, formally called polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs), are clouds made of ice particles and water vapor that form in the polar regions of the Earth at altitudes ranging from 76 to 85 kilometers. The formation of PMCs at much lower latitudes than usual since their discovery in the 1980s can possibly be linked to increased carbon dioxide output by humans. NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite was launched in 2007 to study these clouds and how they form. Our team plans to purchase and integrate an ultraviolet instrument that will be used to image PMCs, but with a much smaller satellite than AIM. We hope to collaborate with an AIM institution at some level, such as data comparison with AIM’s images. Our team will assemble and test the satellite bus and its systems, integrate the ultraviolet payload, and operate the mission from a spaceflight operations center on campus, perhaps in the College of Aviation’s Department of Applied Aviation Sciences.