UNITE CubeSat: From Inception to Early Orbital Operations 22 August 2019 1030 - 1100
The University of Southern Indiana UNITE CubeSat was deployed from the International Space Station on January 31, 2019. It phoned home 55 minutes later thru the Globalstar satellite network and has been transmitting data every day since. UNITE stands for Undergraduate Nano Ionospheric Temperature Explorer. The missions of UNITE are to (1) calculate plasma properties in the lower ionosphere using a Langmuir Plasma Probe, (2) measure the CubeSat's skin and interior temperatures to compare with a student-developed thermal model, and (3) carefully track the orbital decay near re-entry with the intent of updating drag models in that regime. Key events and lessons learned will be summarized from inception of the project in 2016 thru the first six months of orbital operations in 2019.