The goal of this project is to create a foundational enabler in the form of a low-cost CubeSat kit and develop an undergraduate course that transitions into an online course in the public domain. The objective of Phase 1 is to develop a kit that contains all subsystems of a fully functioning passive small satellite, or smallsat, with a target price of less than 5,000 USD.
The general capabilities of the standard unit satellite, known as a 1U CubeSat, include onboard computing, radio communication, rudimentary dynamic sensors, basic infrared camera, and an electrical power system. The hardware components are designed to be the most basic functionality of a small spacecraft with basic science tutorials based upon lunar science, raising awareness of the NASA Artemis missions. Electrical and digital interfaces will be designed to follow the CubeSat Kit Bus (CSKB) to allow easy connection to an attitude control system, additional science payloads, or propulsion components. The complete kit will include the necessary software to receive and command telemetry, visualize data, and develop software.
An online spacecraft design lab course will be developed around the kit and released in Phase 2. Developing this low-cost kit is quintessential to link spacecraft design theory to reality. As the ultimate hardware platform will be a CubeSat, the spacecraft design lectures will focus on the nuances associated with smallsat design and capabilities. This topic is not typically taught and further, a spacecraft lab course is extremely rare. By reinforcing the theoretical curriculum with direct ties to hardware, students can truly ingrain the subject matter learned from a conventional classroom setting, a feeling so often felt in classes solely based on lectures. We are proving that smallsats are absolutely within the realm of an undergraduate education and will develop this course into a national online course in the public domain through a popular online learning platform.
STEMWorks Design Challenge
HSFL had the honor of collaborating with STEMWorks to provide a design challenge for middle and high schoolers from the State of Hawai'i. The final presentation were held in March 2021 here is the link to view them.
Frances ZhuDeputy Director of HSGC
Miguel NunesDeputy Director of HSFL
Eric PilgerSystems Engineer
Yosef Ben GershomProject Engineer
Amber Imai-HongAvionics Engineer and Program Director for 101 CubeSats
Kala’imoana GarciaSoftware Engineer
Chris AmendolaCubeSat Software and Avionics Intern
Frances Zhu earned her B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca in 2014 and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Cornell in 2019. Dr. Zhu was a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow. Since 2020, she has been an assistant research professor with the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at University of Hawaii, specializing in machine learning, dynamics, systems, and controls engineering. She is also the deputy director for the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium and graduate cooperating faculty with the following departments: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and earth science.
Miguel Nunes received his Aerospace Engineering Degree form the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, and worked on his Masters and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research is focused on small satellites technology with special focus on Multi-Agent Robotic Systems and Guidance, Navigation and Control. Miguel is the main leads for the research and development of the Satellite Testing Facility and one of the lead software developers for the Comprehensive Open-architecture Solution for Mission Operations System (COSMOS).
Yosef Ben Gershom
Yosef received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2017. He worked with HSFL for his Senior Design Capstone Project and was hired as an engineer after graduation. Yosef supported the integration and testing for the Neutron-1 3U CubeSat development, and performs project management for the HyTI 6U CubeSat. He received an EBMA from the Shilder College of Business at UH Mānoa in 2022, and is currently a project engineer for HSFL.
Amber Imai-Hong has been working for the Hawai`i Space Flight Laboratory as an Avionics Engineer and Outreach Specialist since 2012, and was a student assistant since 2008. While earning her Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Amber was involved with a student-based SmallSat group for 3.5 years doing research and development with microprocessors and power distribution, as well as the team’s Assistant Project Manager for the NanoSat-6 Project Ho`oponopono. She joined the HSFL avionics team during her last semester as an undergraduate, and focused on designing, fabricating, and testing the payload interface for the HiakaSat mission. Amber’s primary roles include electronic design, environmental testing, and STEM Outreach.
Undergraduate at UHM studying Aerospace Engineering.
Chris Amendola is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from UHM currently working towards their Electrical Engineering Masters Degree.