Professors will send satellite probe to the moon

  One small step for man, one giant leap for the University of Vermont.   Professors in the College of Engineering and Mathematics are researching technology that will send a 10-centimeter Cube Satellite (CubeSat) into space to orbit the moon, according to University Communications.   UVM is working in collaboration with Norwich College, St. Michael’s College and Vermont Technical College to develop the satellite that will fully launch in 2014, Professor Jun Yu said.    “Our ultimate goal is to develop a triple CubeSat capable of reaching lunar orbit and possibly conducting a lunar landing,” Yu said.   “It will be the first space instrument produced in Vermont and put into space, which is cool,” she said. “It is a very exciting project, [because] eventually you get to see your project take off.”    Gregg Carpenter, a graduate student, said he was also excited about Vermont’s developing space research.   “We see it as a really important opportunity not only for Vermont research, but the United States space program,” Carpenter said.   Cube Satellites will provide a general platform for inexpensive space exploration and robotic systems that can explore space without humans being in real time control, he said.   Professor Jeff Frolik works on the project by developing sensors and robotic systems for the CubeSats.   “The CubeSats have wireless sensors which can be deployed on ground,” Frolik said. “They act based on what things on the ground tell them.”   CubeSats are small and inexpensive to make, which allows them to be almost expendable to scientists. Researchers can then send multiple CubeSats into orbit, Frolik said.   “All of the colleges have one common theme, and we are doing things that complement each other,” he said. “If we are all relatively successful independently, then the hope is that we collectively can succeed.”