The lab is an undergraduate led research lab, mentored by faculty, with the goals of launching small, inexpensive satellites into space for gathering scientific data and providing experiential learning opportunities for University of Georgia students. Currently 54 undergraduates from all over campus (geography, physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, marine science, design, and management) lead and operate the lab. The students strive to enhance science education within and around the UGA community through their scientific endeavors. The lab also is leading the way in developing a Small Satellite Course that will form the foundation of an aerospace-based curriculum at UGA.
The lab is currently equipped with a 140sq ft clean room rated ISO 7, a 200 ltr vacuum chamber capable of reaching 10-6 torr, and multiple Electrostatic Discharge workstations all of which are suitable for the integrations and testing of flight ready equipment.
The SPectral Ocean Color (SPOC) satellite mission, is funded through NASA’s second iteration ofg the Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP). The SPOC shall acquire moderate resolution imagery across a wide range of spectral bands to monitor coastal ecosystems and ocean color. It will acquire image data between 400 and 850 nm to monitor 1) coastal wetlands status, 2) estuarine water quality including wetland biophysical characteristics and phytoplankton dynamics, and 3) near-coastal ocean productivity. SPOC shall use hyperspectral remote sensing techniques to quantify vegetation health, primary productivity, ocean productivity, suspended sediments, and organic matter in coastal regions. SPOC shall train students in STEM related fields by having them investigate optimal data transmission techniques, geo-reference imagery for mapping, conduct photogrammetric processing of images acquired from the satellite, develop community outreach programs, and learn general aerospace manufacturing/testing/designing skills
SPOC has been chosen for NASA’s eight class of candidates through the CubeSat Launch Initiative. Through this initiive SPOC will be launched either 2018, 2019, or 2020.
The Mapping and Ocean Color Imager (MOCI) is funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) ninth iteration of the University Nanosatellite Program (UNP). The MOCI mission will acquire imagery of the Earth’s surface from LEO and perform real time Structure from Motion (SfM) at a landscape scale. The MOCI mission will also identify and map coastal phenomena such as sediment plumes and algal blooms while training students in STEM related fields. Efficient data compression, transmission, and SfM processing techniques of space based imagery will be performed on board the spacecraft. The secondary goals of the project will be to lay the foundations for a self-sustaining Small Satellite Research Laboratory (SSRL) at UGA, and by creating a free repository of imagery and an on-demand imagery request service. In addition, SSRL will engage with the public through the development of outreach programs such as workshops, instructional YouTube videos, educational podcasts, and performing guest lectures at local schools and events.
MOCI is still under review with the Air Force's Research Laboratories, so there is not current launch date set.