University of Minnesota SmallSat Team – SOCRATES launched successfully and was deployed from the ISS late February 2020

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 was scheduled for deployment from the ISS late February 2020 to commence its science operations.  SOCRATES is the first Minnesota-student-built satellite to be launched!  The SmallSat is currently working on a second 3-U CubeSat named EXACT (Experiment for X-ray Characterization and Timing).  EXACT will primarily study at X-rays from the sun whereas SOCRATES will 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 Space Grant.  With these two projects operating under two different entities, it means that each project must adhere to a particular set of requirements.  More information about these projects can be found at the link below.

Above image: Cygnus NG-12 at the ISS [link]

Featured image: Northrop Grumman launches Cygnus NG-12 mission [link]

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