Press Release

College designed CubeSat provides replacement for inoperable satellite

By SpaceRef Editor
December 4, 2013
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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A miniaturized satellite, called a CubeSat, named Ho’oponopono-2, lived up to its namesake after launching from a Minotaur I rocket at Wallops Launch Facility Nov. 19.

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian traditional method of problem solving involving the entire family that means, “making things right.”

After years of working together on the Ho’oponopono-2, University of Hawaii students and personnel from Vandenberg finally had the chance to see H-2 launch into space on board NASA’s Minotaur I rocket on Nov. 19. The H-2 is a miniaturized satellite that acts as a low cost provisional replacement for the Radar Calibration satellite which was declared inoperable in June 2013. The RADCAL satellite provided a space based calibration platform for multiple users and supported 109 radars and more than 80 user programs. Thus, the need for a replacement was evident.

“We have been able to continue the calibration mission by ‘borrowing’ the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F15 satellite, which, launched in 1999, is also deteriorating in health,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Berenger, 30th Range Management Squadron commander. “H-2 is an effective gap-filler solution to once again provide a dedicated space based calibration capability while we continue to develop and build a more robust and enduring calibration solution.”

With a grant provided by the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the H-2 was designed and built by University of Hawaii undergraduates and graduate students. The Nanosat 6 and 7 Programs proved beneficial to both the University of Hawaii students by providing real life experience and to 30 RMS, in their role of Radar Performance Monitoring.

“The 30 RMS at Vandenberg is responsible for programmatic management and technical oversight of the Radar Performance Monitoring network for all test ranges that use space-based calibration,” said Berenger. “The H-2 satellite provides a space-based platform to calibrate instrumentation assets such as radars throughout the worldwide test range network to ensure correct positioning and operation.”

In addition to acting as a potential short-term replacement for the RADCAL satellite, the H-2, relative to larger satellites, is inexpensive to create as well as launch. The H-2 is approximately 10 X 10 X 30 centimeters.

“H-2 is an evolutionary opportunity,” said Kris Andrews, 30th SW Radar Performance Monitoring Program Director. “To significantly reduce cost and schedule associated with Western Range and other Department of Defense Space Based Calibration Platform requirements.”

SpaceRef staff editor.