​​​​​​​For three years, more than 70 students in CSU Northridge's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, along with CSUN professors Sharlene Katz, James Flynn, Adam Kaplan and David Schwartz, have worked to design and build the hardware and software for an innovative satellite.

Together with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), these CSU Northridge faculty and students embarked on this first-of-its-kind project to create the cube-shaped satellite that may improve power storage on spacecraft.

Now, the backpack-sized satellite was propelled into space today, concluding the CSUNSat1 project. It was launched by NASA from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

CSU Northridge was among 14 universities nationwide chosen by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for its NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative in 2013.

The project's mission is to test a new JPL lithium ion battery as a potential power storage system for spacecraft that, if successful, might have tremendous impact on future deep space exploration.

"The [current] batteries [on satellites] do not work well at the extremely low temperatures found in space far away from the sun or when the spacecraft is the earth's shadow," explained James Flynn in a 2013 interview with CSU Northridge. "In addition, current battery systems involve rapid discharging and recharging of the batteries. The new JPL technology… protects the batteries from the rapid discharge/charge cycles, [which] will allow longer missions farther from the sun."

Today's launch of the satellite will help verify and validate the new system, as well as CSUN's satellite design, possibly contributing to the development of a powerful, affordable tool for science, exploration and space operations.

​​Watch the videos below to learn more about CSUNSat1:

 

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