Radio Amateurs aim to fly new FPGA in space

Radio amateurs James Cutler KF6RFX, Andrew Mitchell KD8RCO and K. Scott Tripp KD8IPK are involved in developing the Michigan Multipurpose Minisatellite (MCubed-2) at the University of Michigan.

The mission objectives for the MCubed-2 are to capture mid-resolution images of the Earth from Low Earth Orbit, perform a technology demonstration for a novel new Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), and train the next generation of Aerospace Engineers.

Testing the FPGA on a CubeSat platform will provide valuable information as to how it survives Low Earth Orbit and how well it operates when processing real image data.

M-Cubed implements a 3 mega-pixel CMOS camera that will transfer the image to the FPGA upon request. MCubed-2 is also an educational project for Engineering students at the University of Michigan. M-Cubed provides hands-on experience for students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to build flight hardware for a space mission.

The training these students gain by working on this project will better prepare them for work in the Aerospace industry. MCubed-2 is a 1U CubeSat and the group is proposing to use a 1 watt output simplex transceiver on UHF with 9k6 telemetry.

It is planned to launch from Vandenberg into a 770 km by 460 km 123 degree orbit with these spacecraft: Medgar Evers – CUNYSat-1 Cal Poly – IPEX: MSU – Firebird: UH – H-2: Kentucky Space – KySat-2: SLU – Argus: LLNL – Udjat: SMDC – TacSat-6, SNaP-1/2/3, SMDC ONE 2.3/2.4 Aerospace Corp. – AeroCube-5a/5b/6 AFIT – ALICE: GSFC/Siena College – Firefly: USC – MaVEx: USU – STACEM:

More information is available at http://exploration.engin.umich.edu/missions/mcubed/iaru/

The MCubed-2 IARU frequency application is http://exploration.engin.umich.edu/missions/mcubed/iaru/MCubed2_oct2012.doc