Test and On-Orbit Experiences of FalconSAT-3
AIR FORCE ACADEMY COLORADO SPRINGS CO DEPT OF ASTRONAUTICS
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The fundamental objectives of the capstone design project in the Department of Astronautics at the United States Air Force Academy USAFA are for cadets to learn important engineering lessons by executing a real space mission on a Department of Defense-funded satellite project. FalconSAT-3 is a 50 kg, gravity gradient-stabilized designed and built by cadets and launched March 2007 on the first ESPA Enhanced extended launch vehicle Satellite Payload Adapter mission. FalconSAT-3 was one of six satellites integrated onto the launch vehicle and the nature of the mission made it that the satellite was subject to the full formality of testing requirements. Two successive gravity gradient booms failed either design requirements or environmental testing design requirements grew dramatically during the design phase ambiguous thermal vacuum test results led to uncertainty at launch and after launch it was not possible to contact the satellite for several weeks.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Unmanned Spacecraft