WMU Student Satellite Nearer Orbit

Mar 6, 2017

Artist's view of WMU's WALI CubeSat
Credit WMU College of Engineering

A team of engineering students at Western Michigan University is still trying to get their satellite into earth orbit.

The Western Aerospace Launch Initiative, or WALI (“Wally”), began working on the design of the "CubeSat" in 2016.

Western was among ten schools selected for the program by the U.S. Air force University Nanosat Program. The small satellite would by launched on board a NASA rocket. WALI faculty advisor Kristina Lemmer, an assistant professor at WMU's College of Engineering, says the project is in the last part of the design process.

Sun sensor circuitry for the WALI satellite
Credit WMU College of Engineering

“Students like the hands on stuff so the design of a satellite, while we’re getting to the point where we can get to the prototyping and doing experiments and some hands-on stuff. It takes a long time to get a finished product.”

WMU Assistant Engineering Professor Jennifer Hudson is also a faculty advisor for Western’s team. She says the "CubeSat" is just the beginning.

“We hope that after this one we will build more and more satellites and start to send more students into the aerospace industry, equip them with a lot of skills coming out of school so that they’re prepared to take on a lot of roles in aerospace.”

Hudson says the WALI team is about 75 percent done with the design of its CubeSat. She says it hopes to have the tiny spacecraft ready for launch by a NASA rocket by the end of 2017.

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