Cube Satellite Launches to International Space Station

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

TechEdSat, a NASA-sponsored cube satellite that SJSU aerospace engineering students have worked on, launched from Japan to the International Space Station.

NASA TV began its live-stream coverage on Friday, July 20, 6:15 p.m. PDT. Then 7:06 p.m. was the official launch of the Japanese transfer vehicle, which contains TechEdSat and four other cube satellites from international universities and organizations.

“Cubesats have been around, but this is the first ever deployed from the space station, thus it has to meet all the ISS requirements,” said Professor Periklis Papadopoulos, who also works at NASA Ames Research Center and served as a technical advisor on the project. “This has not been done before. Some of those requirements we had to help them define since there was no precedence.”

Normally, projects that are sent to the International Space Station take four and a half years to complete, said graduate student and system engineer Ali Guarneros Luna, but TechEdSat was completed in about nine months. The student team was responsible for designing and integrating the cube satellite’s system, as well as performing various tests and making sure it passed the standards of both the International Space Station and NASA.

In a NASA news release, Andres Martinez, program manager for Small Spacecraft Payloads and Technologies at Ames, said TechEdSat “will allow a group of very talented aerospace engineering students from San Jose State University to experience a spaceflight project from formulation through decommission of a small spacecraft.”

If this mission is successful, then it may lead to future cube satellites with a similar communication system.

Spartans at Work: At NASA Ames, “I’m Pursuing My Childhood Dream”

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with aerospace engineering graduate Ali Guarneros Luna.)

Where will an SJSU degree take you? How about beyond the Earth’s atmosphere? While Ali Guarneros Luna, ’10, ’12 Aerospace Engineering, has her feet on the ground as a systems engineer for NASA Ames Research Center, she has been involved in projects that have made it to outer space.

Guarneros Luna lead an SJSU student team that worked on the cube satellite, TechEdSat, one of five cube satellites, or cubesats, being transported to the International Space Station. A transfer vehicle containing the cubesats, additional experiments and supplies launched from Japan at 7:06 p.m. PDT July 20. TechEdSat is the first NASA cube satellite that will orbit the earth after being launched from the International Space Station.

Becoming an aerospace engineer was a childhood dream for Guarneros Luna, who grew up in Mexico.

“I read something, I saw something on TV when I was probably five or seven years old, and it just impacted me,” she said.

She earned her current job after interning at NASA Ames during her last year of undergraduate studies, where she made connections with SJSU faculty members who also worked at that research center.

“I was just lucky enough that … San Jose State University gave me the opportunity to pursue the dream that I had when I was growing up,” she said.