CU Boulder CubeSat Team Wins Air Force University Competition

Image Credit: University of Colorado Boulder

February 7, 2018 – The MAXWELL cubesat, a University of Colorado Boulder Smead Aerospace graduate project, has been selected as a winner in the Air Force University Nanosatellite Program Flight Selection Review. Ten university teams were competing for two available slots on a future rocket launch.

The Air Force has provided funding to CU Boulder over the past two years to develop the MAXWELL concept under PI Scott Palo and Co-PI Bob Marshall.

The cubesat is intended to demonstrate a high rate communication system that is compatible with the NASA Near-Earth Network. It will utilize a CU-developed X-band communication system and a 1m deployable reflectarray antenna from MMA Design, a small satellite company in Boulder.

The satellite design has been a multi-semester initiative of the Smead Aerospace graduate projects course cubesat section. More than 30 students have worked on the effort, including student leaders Andrew Dahir (PhD student), Bennet Schwab (PhD student) and Noel Puldon (BS/MS student).

The graduate projects course has been led by Professor Scott Palo (AY 15-16), Dr. James Mason (AY 16-17) and Dr. Marcin Pilinski (AY 17-18). Pilinski is a research associate at LASP and Mason is now completing a post doctoral program at NASA Goddard.

MAXWELL is one of the satellites built as part of the CU Boulder Graduate Cubesat Design Opportunites class. Other satellites designed and built by students in this class include QB50, MinXSS, and CUE3.

The MAXWELL team will receive additional funding and has two years to deliver their cubesat to the Air Force.