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.

The design and construction of a satellite is a multidisciplinary effort, involving aspects of all fields of engineering [8]. It is not expected that a single group should design and construct the entire CubeSat. For this task to be achieved it is essential to involve several groups, from different institutes [9]. The UPRM and the UIPR-Bayamon collaborate with UPRRP through the Puerto Rico NASA Space Grant Foundation as well as through PRIDCO.

Through this grant, 15 graduate and undergraduate students are sponsored. UIPR-Bayamon collaborates in the CubeSat project by providing mechanical vibration and micro thruster tests. UPRRP is tasked with the CubeSats communication systems. The University of Turabo is also collaborating by supporting other universities; providing students skilled in different engineering fields. Fig. 6 illustrates the educational institutions that are collaborating in order to develop the CubeSat prototype as well as aerospace technology agencies that are widely distributed in Puerto Rico.

Fig 6: Puerto Rico Aerospace and Technology Cluster Map

 

One of the UIPR-Bayamon largest contributions is their Suggestion: “research facilities, which are designed for aerospace testing; ground Station laboratory for communications systems, thermal analysis laboratory equipped with thermal oven and a vacuum designed for testing space conditions. The university also possesses a control systems and electronics laboratory as well as a clean room. Table II illustrates the UIPR-Bayamon’s aerospace programs and courses.

This program is designed to train students to develop the knowledge and abilities needed to function as an efficient professional in the fields of energy and aerospace. Specializing in aerospace gives students the opportunity to hone the necessary skills to be successful in the aerospace industry.