The University at Buffalo (UB) Nanosatellite Program is a student organization which aims to solve critical issues in space situational awareness that have arisen due to the growing congestion of space. Our satellites are being designed in an effort to eventually make space a safer environment.
As the number of objects in orbit around Earth increases, which include satellites, rocket bodies, and space debris, the probability of costly, and potentially deadly, collisions between satellites and manned space vehicles undergoes a corresponding increase, as exemplified by the recent collision between an Iridium communications satellite and a retired Russian Kosmos satellite.
The nation’s most recent space surveillance satellite cost approximately one hundred million dollars to design and manufacture. Our group aims to reduce these costs by demonstrating the feasibility of using a network of nanosatellites to persistently monitor space, while maintaining a comparable level of performance.
The UB satellite will collect photometric data of unresolved space objects using two cameras which operate over the visible and infrared wavelengths. Using this data, various properties such as shape, orientation, albedo, and material composition will be estimated.