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article imageNASA to launch first all-Mexican AzTechSat-1 satellite to ISS

By Karen Graham     Dec 4, 2019 in Technology
Puebla - SpaceX postponed the launch of a Dragon cargo ship filled with NASA supplies Wednesday due to high winds in the upper atmosphere, as well as at sea. This means a student-built nanosatellite will he heading to the International Space Station tomorrow.
On board the Dragon cargo ship will be the first satellite built by students in Mexico for launch from the International Space Station. The nanosatellite is smaller than a shoebox but represents a big step for its builders.
Designed and built by students at the Popular Autonomous University of Puebla (UPAEP), the AztechSat-1 project is part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CLSI), which offers universities, high schools, and non-profit organizations the opportunity to fly small satellites.
Students began the development of the CubeSat back in 2017 and it was approved by NASA late last year. A total of 74 undergraduate and post-graduate students at UPAEP as well as 12 academics worked on the project.
Jose Cortez of NASA Ames (left) and Joel Contreras of UPAEP (right)  conduct final integration of Az...
Jose Cortez of NASA Ames (left) and Joel Contreras of UPAEP (right), conduct final integration of AzTechSat-1 into the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) in preparation for launch to the International Space Station.
NASA
Héctor Simón Vargas Martínez, a UPAEP academic who oversaw the satellite project, said the aim of the AztechSat-1 mission is to establish communication with the entire Globalstar satellite constellation system with a view to improving the transmission of data to earth, reports Mexico News Daily.
The AzTechSat-1 project on Intra-satellite communication could lead to a reduced need for ground stations, lowering the cost and increasing the number of data downloads possible for satellite applications, according to NASA.
Francisco Fernando Eugenio Urrutia Albisua, a vice-rector or vice president at UPAEP, pointed out that the program is important for the university and for the country. “For Mexico, I hope this will lead to future research and telecommunications projects involving universities or new emerging companies. For UPAEP, it is an honor to be the first university in Mexico to design and build a nanosatellite for flight on the space station.”
Students construct the AzTechSat-1 CubeSat at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UP...
Students construct the AzTechSat-1 CubeSat at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP) in Puebla, Mexico.
NASA
Carlos Duarte, coordinator of human capital training at the Mexican Space Agency (AEM), said that all of the information obtained by AztechSat-1 will be freely available so that students at other educational institutions can learn from its mission.
SpaceX launch is set for Thursday
After windy conditions forced a postponement of the CRS-19 resupply Mission to the ISS, SpaceX wrote in a Twitter update: "Standing down today due to upper altitude winds and high winds at sea creating dynamic conditions around the Of Course I Still Love You droneship — next launch opportunity is tomorrow [Dec. 5] at 12:29 p.m. EST (1729 GMT),"
The Dragon cargo ship will be packed to the brim with more than 5,700 lbs. (2,585 kilograms) of supplies and research experiments that will support a variety of science experiments over the course of the next two Expeditions — 61 and 62, according to Space.com
More about AzTechSat1, CubeSat Launch Initiative, nanosatellite, Falcon9 rocket, Launch from ISS
 
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