The Undergraduate Nano Ionospheric Temperature Explorer CubeSat, or UNITE CubeSat, is a NASA funded small satellite project. The University of Southern Indiana has received a Undergraduate Student Instruments Project (USIP) grant from NASA to complete a small satellite focusing on NASA specific goals. UNITE consists of a blend of students studying electrical and mechanical engineering, physics, and computer science.
There are three main goals for the project. The main goal of the mission is to measure plasma in the lower ionosphere, a relatively unexplored region of space. Students shall create a thermal model for comparison with temperature sensor data collected during flight. The last goal is for students to model orbital decay to better understand spaceflight dynamics within the lower ionosphere.
UNITE follows a NASA systems engineering approach. Through this approach, the team regularly presents to NASA, its vendor Near Space Launch, faculty of USI, and guests. Each presentation focuses on phases of the project lifecycle including the most recent, the Critical Design Review. Following the review, student will begin integration and testing of components. Presently, the UNITE CubeSat team plans to finish and deliver the CubeSat to NASA by the end of December of 2017.