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USU Space Dynamics Lab Satellite Wins Mission Of The Year Award

August 7, 2020 | KSL TV

A satellite built by the Space Dynamics Lab at Utah State University was awarded the Small Satellite Mission of the Year from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

The Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP) satellite was built to carry the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Earth and Space Institute-built HARP payload, according to a news release from the Space Dynamics Lab.

The payload measures the microphysical properties of cloud and aerosol particles in the Earth’s atmosphere.

“The HARP mission seeks to mitigate barriers to assessing climate change that are caused by the scarcity of measurable data about aerosol forcing, insufficient understanding of aerosol-cloud processes and cloud feedbacks in the climate system,” officials said.

Members of the Space Dynamics Laboratory HARP team pose for this photo on February 19, 2020, at SDL's headquarters in North Logan, Utah, the day HARP was deployed from the International Space Station. Pictured from left to right are Bryan Hansen, Camren Hansen, Jaden Miller, Matt Jeppesen, Hannah Brailsford, Jason Hansen, Jenny Hinton, Cameron Weston, David Allen, Ryan Martineau, and Tim Neilsen. (Credit: Ben Sharp/Space Dynamics Laboratory)

“HARP has been a truly collaborative effort between UMBC and SDL, demonstrating how university organizations can collaborate with NASA to advance space science and technology to achieve major earth science goals,” said principal investigator Dr. J. Vanderlei Martins of UMBC.

The SDL project was announced as the Mission of the Year during the annual Small Satellite Conference this week. The award is given every year to the project that demonstrates a significant improvement in the capability of small satellites, the release said.

“To be selected from the many accomplished small satellite missions throughout this year is an honor and reflects the vision, unshakeable commitment, and scientific expertise of Dr. Martins and his team at UMBC and NASA,” said Alan Thurgood, SDL’s director of Civil and Commercial Space. “The men and women of SDL share in Dr. Martins’ vision for HARP, and we are fortunate to have been able to provide the spacecraft and operational management to help enable mission success.”