Hands-on Experience


The Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment program employs eight USU students (three in computer engineering, three in mechanical engineering, two in electrical engineering).  With guidance from professional scientists in the roles of principal investigator, lead scientist and program manager, the students are key in designing, building and testing two identical small satellites and their instrumentation to investigate space weather phenomena.

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In April 2010, a new facility opened at USURF’s Innovation Campus that will accommodate the intelligence community’s pursuit of academic outreach:  Small Satellite Technology and Research Program (STAROP). The facility is named after Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who noted, “The work accomplished through this research program will greatly improve the effectiveness of those working in the intelligence community.”

MSU Cooperation

Montana State University’s (MSU) satellite, called Explorer-1 Prime (E1P), was one of three recommended to fly on a NASA rocket.  Space Dynamics Laboratory is supporting this historic project for MSU by providing the vibration and thermal vacuum facilities for qualification testing of the satellite prior to its delivery.  E1P is part of the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellite (ELaNa) mission, which will launch small, university, research satellites, including CU Boulder, and Kentucky Space, through Cal Poly’s satellite deployer P-POD.

Senior design project mentoring for USU STEM seniors


FUNBOE student researchers conduct experiments in microgravity. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

SDL helped support the Follow Up Nucleate Boiling On-flight Experiment (FUNBOE) project, a student-led effort that studied nucleate boiling in microgravity. The results will allow improved thermal design for spacecraft. The USU Get Away Special (GAS) team of students performed the experiment themselves in microgravity aboard a fixed-wing aircraft in parabolic flight.  Along with support for the students, SDL performed FUNBOE’s structural analysis and vibration prequalification testing Because of this research opportunity, two students won Goldwater scholarships, and one was selected as a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center summer intern.

Novel Design of Joints between Dissimilar Materials

Six students were funded to work on Novel Design of Joints between Dissimilar Materials in Space Environments, a project headed by Scott Jensen and Glen Hansen, senior engineers at SDL.


Micro-Lada is a classroom version of Lada, a vegetation chamber created to provide a "space garden" for astronauts during their long flights. SDL developed Micro-Lada to help teachers and students learn more about plant growth and considerations in a micro-gravity environment. Working with Micro-Lada, students can explore challenges such as watering plants without gravity and optimizing light for plant growth.

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