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MIE.39 – Lower Earth Wildfire Detection Research and Analysis Satellite

Team Members Heading link

  • Stevenson Durning Ii
  • Andrew Lundeen
  • Sahil Moudgill
  • Swahdreeznya Rosier
  • Gianni Viele

Project Description Heading link

In this world of advancements, nano satellites have become a racing phenomenon due to the art of the standardization. A satellite contained in unit of ten centimeters squared cube is all the components necessary for functioning a satellite. These components include the structure, communication boards, power, and solar panels. A cube satellite weighing around a few kilograms, one may wonder what on earth can someone does with that small of a space?
As the modernization of space and technology continues in the miniature components for computers and internet of things, these tiny satellites have become a power platform for scientifically rich experiments. From finding life sciences in space to nano satellite with propulsion systems that requires no fuels, these small structures have been harboring great opportunities which are way cheaper and alternative options to the multi-million-dollar satellites. The idea of this project started from NASA’s Cube Satellite Launch Initiative. Students for Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), an on-campus organization gave us the opportunity to develop and project a 2U cube satellite at low cost and high efficiency. Students for Exploration and Development of Space resulted in new class of 2U-Unit cube satellite with a purpose of having students heavily involved in the complete life cycle of space mission. Students of Exploration and Development of Space decided to present this opportunity as a senior design project to the students from the different backgrounds and majors to gain experience from space-oriented industry. LaWra Sat – Lower Earth Orbit Wildfire Detection Research and Analysis Satellite will play an active role in ensuring the safety and success in environmental research and analysis from hundreds of kilometers in space. Orbiting in the lower earth orbit, with an ability to predict, detect and monitor the presence of wildfires LaWra-SAT will work on detecting the fumes from space, directly advantaging the authorities and citizens with consequent benefits in preparedness, response times and hazard limitations.
Students from mechanical & electrical and computer engineering backgrounds formed interdisciplinary teams to work on the project from different aspects of engineering. Mechanical engineering teams will be responsible for structures, design, thermal technology, power, and solar panels on the satellite. The goal of the mechanical team is to design a structurally sound chassis and assist in the solar panel and battery selection for the satellite. In constructing the chassis, the biggest concerns were the thermal and vibrational response the satellite would have to the environment. Insulation, heating pads, and heat pipes were all considered as a mean of maintaining the operating temperature of the electronics. Transient thermal analyses were run on Ansys to determine the best method of insulating the electronics. Enclosures were also designed to diminish the risk of excessive vibration during launch. The final design utilizes low out-gassing epoxy as an adhesive, anodized aluminum rails to prevent cold welding to the dispenser, and aero-gel insulation. Notches were cut into the rails to allow for PCB to be easily slotted in and out of the satellite. The ECE team provided their expertise on sensor selection, camera vision, and worked on developing an algorithm to detect wildfires. We will work to enhance the working and output of the satellite to support the guidelines intended to standardize the cube satellites in a way that can help in ease of launch up in space.