CubeSat

Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society

Update July 9, 2019

The deployment of Lightsail 2’s solar sails has been delayed until at least Sunday, July 21. Bruce Betts, Lightsail 2 mission program manager, said the spacecraft is stable and healthy; however, some unexpected behavior in altitude control system sensors has the mission team slowing down. “We don’t want to rush it,” Betts told KCBX News on Tuesday afternoon. “We may have to upload fixes and we want to do it in a methodical way.” KCBX News will continue to check in with the team at Cal Poly for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY PUBLISHED JULY 3, 2019

A unique spacecraft is now orbiting the earth, and soon a team at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo will command it to unfurl super-thin stretches of Mylar, serving as sails. The craft will then glide along, propelled only by sunlight.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

When NASA’s InSight mission to Mars took off from the Central Coast’s Vandenberg Air Force Base six months ago, two little satellites piggybacked along for the ride. They’re called CubeSats, and they’re about the size of briefcases. Cal Poly students in San Luis Obispo had a hand in their departure from earth and the data they are sending back from Mars.

Geovanni Ximénez-García

Space debris and the location of satellites is a top concern for the U.S. military's missile program which is why leaders from the Department of Defense are working closely with scientists in Cal Poly’s CubeSat program. 

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

UPDATE: Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 6:11 p.m.

Engineers at Cal Poly are celebrating a win in Utah this week as their LightSail project was named "Mission of the Year" Thursday  afternoon at the Small Satellite Conference at Utah State University.

Original story:

Cal Poly’s satellite programs are now the talk of the space industry with some of the most cutting-edge technology destined for launch pads, and already circling the planet. 

Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

The launch of a soil moisture monitoring satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base was in a 24-hour delay cycle on Thursday afternoon because of a problem with upper level winds Thursday morning.

The SMAP satellite (Soil Moisture Active Passive) is now scheduled to launch Friday morning at 6:20.

Three other nano-satellites—or CubeSats—are also onboard the Delta II rocket sitting on the Vandenberg launchpad, and they're what scientists and students from Cal Poly will be watching.

Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

A team of scientists at Cal Poly worked to test elements of a kite-like, solar-powered spacecraft Wednesday on the San Luis Obispo campus.

It's called the LightSail mission and it's built using components known as CubeSats developed at Cal Poly and Stanford University.

Wednesday's test was to include a full simulation of what the spacecraft will do in space, however a communications problem between the antenna and receiver caused a glitch in the testing. Another test has been scheduled for next week.