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.

Educational Impact

This project has provided student the experience of focusing on a single technical design while also teaching the students to coordinate work between groups from various departments at other universities [10]. It has motivated undergraduate students in the mechanical, electrical and computer engineering and computer science programs. Currently there are 42 students working directly on the cubesat project. It is expected that undergraduate students interested in pursuing a master’s degree will base their thesis on this project. The majority of students that have worked in CubeSat related projects in the past have been employed by companies such as: Texas Instruments Honewell, Infotech aerospace services, Florida Turbine, Lockeed Martin and NASA. Other students have continued their studies at a PhD level at institutions such as: Michigan State University, Ohio State University and University of Minnesota among other high ranking universities.

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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.

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