Thu, Mar 30, 2006
More FalconSATs On The Way
Despite the loss of their FalconSAT-2 satellite last Friday,
cadets in the Department of Aeronautics at the US Air Force Academy
are pressing on with plans to launch several more of the small
The cadet-built FalconSAT-2 was the primary payload on the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon I
rocket, launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic
Missile Test Site on Kwajalien Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Cadets watching a webcast of the launch were initially elated with
the launch -- but that happiness turned to unease when the video
feed was lost approximately 20 seconds into the launch, and
ultimately disappointment once cadets learned of the loss of the
rocket and satellite.
The satellite was the product of the Academy’s Space
Systems Research Center. The center runs a multi-disciplinary,
two-semester astronautical engineering course where cadets put
theory into practice by designing and constructing a small
satellite for Department of Defense research programs.
While the loss of FalconSAT-2 was a setback to the program, work
continues on FalconSAT-3. Also designed, built, tested and managed
by cadets, FalconSAT-3 will carry five separate Department of
Defense scientific experiments into orbit in October.
Meanwhile, two development versions of FalconSAT-2 remain at the
Academy -- and cadets will also begin work on FalconSAT-4 with the
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