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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Science and Engineering
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

PI: Demoz Gebre-Egziabher

Student Nanosat Program

The Nanosat Program is a student satellite competition sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The mission of the program is to design, construct, and validate a Global Positioning System (GPS) bistatic radar for remote sensing applications on board small satellites in earth orbit. By collecting direct GPS signals and reflected GPS signals off the earth, the distance the satellite is from the earth will be able to be determined. Another application of GPS bistatic radar system is remote sensing. The GPS bistatic radar system can measure ocean conditions such as wind speed and wave height. The system utilizes novel algorithms created by University of Minnesota students to extract the ocean data from GPS signals that are reflected off the earth’s ocean into space. This type of radar can replace more expensive scatterometer systems onboard vital satellites such as QuikSCAT. In addition, the GPS bistatic radar can augment other data collection systems such as those on board unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can be affected by weather.

The group is performing a structural and thermal finite element analysis of the satellite using ANSYS software. The structural and thermal analysis must satisfy Air Force Research Laboratory requirements, including generation of a finite element model of the satellite consisting of at least 250,000 nodes. This necessitates the use of MSI resources.

Group Members

Elliot Bishop, Undergraduate Student
Cory Gloe, Undergraduate Student
Stephen T. Haviland, Undergraduate Student