News

2020

October 29, 2020

Bonnie Uresk: SDL Program Manager a Finalist in the Women Tech Awards

Bonnie Uresk's current focus is managing USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory’s avionic baseline and then looking at next generation architecture.

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October 21, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab Aides in Historic Asteroid Touch Down

On a clear fall evening in September 2016, NASA launched a spacecraft to a distant asteroid to help answer questions central to the human experience: Where did we come from, and what is our destiny? With aid from the Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University, the agency is one step closer to answering those questions today.

Under the leadership of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer spacecraft (OSIRIS-REx) extended its articulated robotic arm yesterday at approximately 6:12 pm EDT to collect debris, called regolith, from the surface of asteroid Bennu. SDL built the camera electronics for a three-camera suite onboard OSIRIS-REx named OCAMS.

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September 3, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab Announces CALCON Keynote Speaker—2020 Meeting Goes Virtual

The Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) at Utah State University announced today that U.S. Air Force Colonel (Col.) Timothy A. Sejba will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Characterization and Radiometric Calibration for Remote Sensing Annual Meeting, known as CALCON. This year’s CALCON will be held virtually 21-24 September 2020.

Each year, CALCON brings together the technical and user communities in a forum to discuss and learn how to achieve the best sensor data and results through satellite and sensor testing and validation. The meeting addresses all aspects of calibration—from looking widely across calibration purposes to the details of what data means and what techniques can achieve better data.

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August 21, 2020

SDL to Provide Constellation of SmallSats Enabling NASA Unprecedented Views of the Sun

The Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University announced that it has been awarded a contract by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to build six spacecraft for NASA’s Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment mission, known as SunRISE.

SunRISE is led by principal investigator Justin Kasper at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and managed by JPL in Pasadena, California. It is scheduled to launch as a hosted rideshare with a commercial satellite in 2023. Once launched, the constellation of six CubeSats will fly in a loose formation acting as a single radio telescope to observe radio images of low-frequency emissions from solar activity and share them via NASA’s Deep Space Network.

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August 7, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab-Built Spacecraft Wins Small Satellite Mission of the Year Award

The Space Dynamics Laboratory-built Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter satellite has been awarded the Small Satellite Mission of the Year award by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The announcement was made during the annual Small Satellite Conference.

Utah State University’s SDL designed and manufactured the HARP spacecraft to carry the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Earth and Space Institute-built HARP payload, which was developed to measure the microphysical properties of cloud and aerosol particles in Earth’s atmosphere.

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August 5, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab to Provide Deep-Space SmallSat Radios for Janus Asteroid Mission

Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory announced during the annual Small Satellite Conference today that it was recently awarded a contract for two small satellite radios for a NASA asteroid mission.

Making long-distance calls from deep space is technologically challenging even with large spacecraft, and from small satellites, it becomes exponentially challenging. The SDL-built Iris radios will provide communications for dual Lockheed Martin small spacecraft being built for NASA’s deep space mission called Janus, to visit near-Earth asteroids, which is led by principal investigator Dr. Daniel Scheeres from the University of Colorado Boulder.

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August 3, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab SmallSat Sees Big Picture

A small satellite built by Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory is providing scientists unprecedented images for a spacecraft of its size.

Measuring only 10 centimeters wide, 10 centimeters high and 30 centimeters long, the small satellite was designed, manufactured, integrated and tested by SDL and carries the Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter payload built by the Earth and Space Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The program is funded by NASA and is under the direction of principal investigator J. Vanderlei Martins. HARP is designed to measure the microphysical properties of cloud and aerosol particles in Earth’s atmosphere. HARP was launched on Nov. 2, 2019, from a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket in its Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Following a three-month stay on the International Space Station, HARP was deployed into orbit on Feb. 19, 2020.

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July 13, 2020

NASA's SDL-Built Space Telescope Discovers Comet: Now Viewable with the Naked Eye

A comet discovered by a space-based telescope built by Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory can be seen with the naked eye soaring through space throughout the summer.

Named after the spacecraft that first spied the frozen visitor, Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), more commonly known as Comet NEOWISE, was discovered on March 27, 2020. It has traveled from the far reaches of our Solar System and now provides stargazers on Earth with a spectacular light show. On July 22, 2020, Comet NEOWISE will achieve its closest approach to Earth—about 103 million kilometers (64 million miles) away.

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May 5, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab Celebrates Graduating Student Employees

The Space Dynamics Laboratory announced that 51 of its student employees from Utah State University have graduated.

Approximately 150 USU student employees work together with over 800 professional engineers, scientists, technicians, and business executives at SDL while earning their undergraduate and graduate degrees. SDL provides unique opportunities for student employees to work on consequential programs to help solve technical challenges faced by the military, science community and industry.

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April 27, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab Supports Spacecraft's Rehearsal of Asteroid Sample Collection Event

NASA recently announced that its Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security - Regolith Explorer spacecraft, known as OSIRIS-REx, has successfully rehearsed a maneuver to collect a sample from the asteroid Bennu using Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory-built “SamCam” camera detector assembly.

OSIRIS-REx traveled more than two billion kilometers to Bennu following a successful launch on September 8, 2016, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Its mission is to answer questions that are central to the human experience—the origins of our planet and our destiny. OSIRIS-REx will provide scientists with answers to those and other questions by collecting a sample from Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose rocky surface may contain evidence of the beginnings of our solar system.

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April 20, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab Meets Major Milestone for NASA's Ocean Ecosystem Mission

The Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University recently delivered to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center an engineering test unit of the Short-Wave Infrared Detection Assembly, a major subcomponent on NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem spacecraft. PACE is scheduled to launch in late 2022, and the mission will extend and improve over 20 years of satellite observations by NASA of global ocean biology, aerosols and clouds.

SDL, drawing on its flight-proven heritage in sensor technology, is designing, building and assembling the Short-Wave Infrared Detection Assembly for the PACE instrument known as the Ocean Color Instrument. The OCI is a state-of-the-art optical spectrometer that will measure properties of light over portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The sensor will enable scientists to view continuous measurements of light made with higher resolution than is currently available.

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April 15, 2020

In Response to COVID-19, SDL Satellite Operators "Fly" Small Sats from Home

The Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University announced that satellite operators are flying NASA spacecraft from their homes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The emphasis on social distancing and stay-at-home work has become ubiquitous throughout the world and has affected sectors of many industries, including the space industry. In response to disruptions of normal work methods due to the global pandemic, SDL satellite operators have successfully shifted operations of two NASA small satellites away from traditional Mission Operations Centers to alternative flight centers—their living rooms.

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April 14, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab Answers Call to Help with Severe Blood Shortage

In response to a call for blood donations from the American Red Cross, Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory hosted a blood drive in North Logan on Monday, April 13. SDL employees donated 36 pints of blood.

“Last month, the Red Cross issued a plea in the face of a severe shortage of blood as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Red Cross, there hasn’t been a shortage of blood so severe since World War II,” said Stephanie Halton, SDL’s corporate conference and events administrator, who organized the blood drive. “Our employees recognized an opportunity to do their part to help the community in which they work and live. Since 1998, SDL employees have donated 777 pints of blood during 30 blood drives.”

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April 6, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab Awarded Patents for Cold Atom Research to Improve Time Accuracy

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued three patents to Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory for innovative inventions used in researching cold atoms—a pivotal element to precise space-based timing. SDL’s Elemental Alkali-Metal Dispenser, and two types of Grating Magneto Optical Traps will enable scientists and engineers to design and build atomic clocks with hyper-accuracy.

Atomic clocks are critical for a variety of applications and measure electromagnetic signals that are emitted from subatomic particles when they change known energy levels. Cold atoms move at a slower rate that allows for longer, more precise measurements in changes of subatomic signals. Atomic clocks are the most accurate clocks that exist, the most reliable of which loses only one second every 14 billion years, approximately the age of the universe.

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March 2, 2020

SDL-Built SmallSat Successfully Deployed from ISS - Now Being Flown by Lab

Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory announced that a small satellite built by SDL was successfully deployed into orbit, and early telemetry indicates that the spacecraft health is nominal and the satellite is operating as designed.

On November 2, 2019, a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying the SDL-built Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter CubeSat, known as HARP, in its Cygnus cargo spacecraft launched from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Following a three-month stay on the International Space Station, HARP was deployed into its intended orbit on February 19.

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February 26, 2020

Space Dynamics Lab Elects Retired Rear Admiral Liz Young to Board of Directors

H. Scott Hinton, president of the Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University, announced that government leader Liz Young has been appointed to SDL’s Board of Directors. Young has served as a member of SDL’s guidance council since 2014 and will continue to serve in that capacity.

Young is a prominent consultant within the space and intelligence industry and advises a variety of organizations on system engineering and program management, including NASA’s Artemis program. In 2011, Young retired at the rank of Rear Admiral from the US Navy, where she served with distinction for twenty years at the National Reconnaissance Office. The NRO is one of the seventeen US Intelligence agencies and the organization responsible for designing, building, launching, and maintaining America’s intelligence-gathering satellites. She led the NRO’s Systems Engineering Directorate and was credited with helping the NRO through a historic six satellite launches in less than a year. Young also served as the Program Executive Officer for Navy Space Systems.

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