The ASU CubeSat, named LightCube, is about the size of a toaster and will be deployed to low-Earth orbit (LEO). Its unique feature is that it can be commanded by anyone with an amateur radio license and a ham radio to set off a xenon flash from the spacecraft that will be visible from the ground.
“The public will be able to track the LightCube satellite using an app, then transmit to the satellite with a ham radio. Once the signal has been received, they will see a flash from the satellite in the night sky,” said Principal Investigator Jaime Sanchez de la Vega, of Vega Space Systems, who graduated in 2019 from ASU with a double major in aerospace and electrical engineering from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
“This is an education-based mission,” said Jacobs, who is also an assistant professor at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. “Our goal in building and launching a spacecraft that can be commanded by the public is to inspire everyone to learn about telecommunications, spacecraft design, atmospheric and climate science, and orbital mechanics.”