Puerto Rico’s First CubeSat: Multidisciplinary Research Project to Attract STEM Students into the Area of Aerospace Systems

The purpose of this paper is to present an interdisciplinary research project using Cubesats to attract engineering students to the area of aerospace systems.

An interdisciplinary CubeSat project between the UPRM, the UIPRB, the UPRRP and University of Turabo is discussed. The EPS developed by the ECE department of the UPRM is used as an example of how multidisciplinary collaboration with other institutions aid in achieving a common goal. Results obtained from the EPS are presented. This EPS is able to take advantage of the SEPIC topology in order to perform MPPT to obtain the maximum power output of the solar panels connected at each side of the cubesat. Also, the EPS is able to successfully regulate the load voltages of 5V and 3.3V. This project has helped create ties between UPR system, UIPR-Bayamon and University of Turabo as well as with agencies like NASA and PRIDCO.

This collaboration has influenced a growth in aerospace technologies in Puerto Rico. The effort of all the universities participating in this project has proven that interdisciplinary research can achieve a single goal, while at the same time influencing institutions into adopting new courses and teaching methods. In general the learned resources could not only be applied to this project but to any other project, including topics outside of aerospace and power electronics.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions made by the UPRM, the UIPRB, the UPRRP, and the University of Turabo as well as the financial support provided by the NASA Training Grant Number NNX10AM80H (Puerto Rico Space Grant) and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development

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