This team will build and test various subsystems of nanosatellite and laser communications systems.

Faculty Mentor:


FLaC-Sat is an Air-Force funded CubeSat mission being developed as part of the University Nanosatellite Program.  The mission is composed of two technology demonstration sub-experiments. The first sub-experiment is dedicated to demonstrating the Film-Evaporation MEMS Tunable Array (FEMTA) micro-thruster. FEMTA is a compact and power efficiency micropropulsion solution that operates using liquid water as propellant. The second sub-experiment focuses on CubeSat to ground station laser communication. Using a free space laser and collimated beam, the CubeSat will transmit data to a ground station using commercially available fiber internet hardware and ethernet protocol.  Both the satellite and the experiment payloads are designed, built, and tested completely by undergraduate students under the advisement of the team mentors. Students will gain hands-on experience in working with satellite hardware, machining, FEA analysis, and mission design. Team members will also be expected to report their progress to the Air Force through design reviews.

Relevant Technologies

  • TTL laser modules

  • FPGA/CPU boards

  • PID controllers

Preequisite knowledge/skills:

  • Interest in guidance, navigation, and control.
  • TTL laser modules, photodiodes, FPGA/CPU boards, PID controllers, PCBs, solenoid valves, servos, etc. This is a year-long course.