The U of MN SmallSat team in the Twin Cities delivered their first 3-U CubeSat called SOCRATES (Signal Opportunity CubeSat Ranging And Timing Experiment System) and it was successfully carried to the ISS on the NG-12 launch of a Cygnus rocket from NASA Wallops in Virginia on Nov. 2, 2019, and deployed in early 2020. SOCRATES is the first Minnesota-student-built satellite to be launched! The SmallSat team is currently working on additional 3-U CubeSats named EXACT (Experiment for X-ray Characterization and Timing), IMPRESS (IMpulsive Phase Rapid Energetic Solar Spectrometer), and HyCUBE (Hypersonic Configurable Unit Ballistic Experiment). EXACT will primarily study at X-rays from the sun whereas SOCRATES was designed to study gamma ray photons from deep space for potential use in deep space navigation (i.e. navigation without using gps nor the Deep Space Network). EXACT is sponsored and funded through the University NanoSat Program (UNP) which is a subset of the Air Force (AF) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). SOCRATES is backed by NASA through the Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) and by the MN Space Grant.
Above image: Cygnus NG-12 at the ISS [link]
Featured image: Northrop Grumman launches Cygnus NG-12 mission [link]