KUbeSAT satelite

A mockup of the satellite that KUbeSAT plans to send to space in June 2022.

KUbeSat, a student-led organization at the University of Kansas, is building a CubeSat, a small cubic satellite that is scheduled to be launched in June 2022, KUbeSat’s Project Manager Arno Prinsloo said. After the launch, KU will be the first institution in Kansas to build and launch a satellite.

KUbeSat has been a member of the NASA CubeSat launch initiative since 2018, which will provide a vehicle to deliver the satellite into space, said Brody Gatza, a junior from Olathe studying aerospace engineering and the president of KUbeSat. 

“We're kind of creating the infrastructure to build multiple CubeSats,” Gatza said. “We'd like to have one or two that we're working on at the same time.”

The satellite is equipped with a wide-angle lens camera, said Wyatt George, a sophomore studying aerospace engineering and the vice president of KUbeSat. Once in orbit, the KUbeSat team will be able to make ground observations, detect weather patterns and take pictures.

“[The satellite] is not gonna be able to get any photos of nebulae or planets,” he said. “You can maybe get a photo of the moon. But, for the most part, we'd be focusing on earth.”

Two faculty members are involved with KUbeSat as advisors, but the organization is entirely run by students. Those who are involved gain skills beyond hardware expertise, including networking opportunities, said Prinsloo.

“We're trying to provide a multidisciplinary opportunity for students from any major,” he said. “It isn’t just engineering.”

Although KU is the first institution in Kansas to launch a CubeSat into space, there are other universities nationwide, including Purdue University and the University of Colorado Boulder, that have been prominent in this field, George said.

“I think if we maintain the support that we have and continue to expand the program that we can eventually outpace some of these larger schools,” he said. “We have the students. We have some incredibly talented and smart individuals who have worked on this project.”

KUbeSat is going to organize a launch party at KU, Prinsloo said. The CubeSat launch will most likely be live-streamed.

“We want to celebrate that and say thank you to our community that has supported us up to this point,” he said.

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