In a bold new initiative to inspire the next generation, Nasa awarded $ 2.4 million to six universities, including the University of Hawaii in Mānoa, as part of its Artemis Student Challenges. EUH Mānoa received $ 500,000 to create to create an affordable 1U CubeSat Kit, which will help develop a robust aerospace program from the undergraduate level, including hardware, software and an online lab course.
EUH Mānoa will generate hands-on learning opportunities related to Orbital and Suborbital CubeSats, miniaturized satellites for space research, containing all fully functional passive satellite subsystems. Each CubeSat will include on-board computing, communication components, dynamic sensors, an infrared camera and a power supply system. Undergraduate students will help develop all aspects of the project under the guidance of Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) engineers, and will have paid internship positions.
“We are proving that smallsats are absolutely in the realm of undergraduate education and will develop this course into a national online course in the public domain through a popular e-learning platform,” said Francoise Zhu, Hawaii Assistant researcher at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
Hands-on learning opportunities will be complemented by online learning resources. The grant will also be used to help CubeSat projects from states that are not yet part of NasaCubeSat launch initiative. This team will include a large network of students from Hawaii and Washington to conduct the initial assessment of learning products.
“This subject is generally not taught and furthermore, a space ship lab course is extremely rare,” Zhu added. “By reinforcing the theoretical curriculum with direct links to the material, students can truly anchor the material learned in a conventional classroom setting, a feeling so often felt in lectures-only courses.”
The Hawaii Space Grant Consortium has worked for decades to encourage the practice STEM education in HawaiiK-12 schools, which has helped develop a strong robotics curriculum that powers EUH Manoa. This project will make it possible to continue STEM pipeline and train undergraduates in the aerospace industry.
“As a native of Hawaii and for life Hawaii resident, it is so important to diversify our economy and create well-paying, environmentally sustainable jobs, ”said Amber Imai-Hong, HSFL awareness specialist and engineer. “By creating this grassroots catalyst, we can create a local aerospace workforce in Hawaii.“
—By Sarah Hendrix