Friday September 13, 2013 0 commentsBOULDER - A beach ball-sized satellite designed and built by a team of University of Colorado Boulder students to better understand how atmospheric drag can affect satellite orbits is slated for launch Sept. 15 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The satellite - known as the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer or DANDE - is designed to investigate how a layer of Earth's atmosphere known as the thermosphere varies in density at altitudes from about 200 to 300miles above the planet.
Thousands of satellites are orbiting the Earth at those altitudes, with most losing their altitude and eventually burning up in the atmosphere.
DANDE is carrying an accelerometer, a wind and temperature spectrometer, an onboard computer, an orientation control system and radio equipment to send back data in real time.
To view a video of the DANDE student satellite project, visit http://youtu.be/CZGGoTIAhZU.