A team led by 21 – year-old Keshav Raghavan, an Indian American student are chosen by NASA whose CubeSat will be flown into space on missions planned to launch in 2020, 2021.
Led by the young Keshav Raghavan, the researchers from the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA) are among the 16 teams across the country whose CubeSats will be flown into space on missions planned to launch. Designed by students, in a span of four years, the grant for the launch was received through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative competition.
According to the NASA, BLAST is a scientific investigation mission to map the distribution of galactic cosmic radiation across the night sky. The satellite will identify and count alpha particles and beta particles in the rays, and measure the radiation energy around Earth. BLAST will contribute to the ongoing search for the origins and nature of these rays, which will provide insight into the origins of the universe.
According to Raghavan, “Once BLAST, a cosmic ray detector, goes into orbit, it will collect data about particles travelling to earth from distant supernovae” Raghavan said.
The team said that as the satellite is ‘smaller than a loaf of bread,’ it costs orders of magnitude less than large-scale satellites. The work, so far, has culminated in a viable prototype that the team anticipates will be ready for launch in slightly over a year.
CubeSats are miniature satellites intended as a standard, inexpensive design that can easily fit alongside larger satellites aboard launch vehicles. The CubeSat model has given student groups, hobbyist organizations, and research teams operating with limited funding or experience unprecedented access to space. CubeSats are built from a modular structure of 10x10x10cm cubes, and feature a wide variety of commercially available off-the-shelf components designed to fit the structure from various manufacturers.