Features Story Archive

Celebrating Student Research During World Space Week

Payam Banazadeh

Payam Banazadeh is a senior in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.

World Space Week 2012, which kicks off today (Oct. 4) and runs through Oct. 10, is the largest annual space event on earth, with more than 55 nations celebrating around the globe with more than 2,200 events.

At the Cockrell School of Engineering, a number of students and faculty are working toward advancing space research.

Student Proposal: Using CubeSats to Search for Life on Exoplanets

Payam Banazadeh has proposed a plan for using a string of low-cost nanosatellites to investigate the possibility of life on other planets.

While working as an intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Banazadeh, a senior in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, developed an idea to utilize a group of 14 nanosatellites, so-called CubeSats, to investigate the magnetic fields of exoplanets (planets orbiting other suns).

If magnetic fields exist on exoplanets and the conditions are right, it could be an indication of planetary life.

To push his idea forward, Banazadeh authored an abstract, titled "ExtraSolar Observing Low-Frequency Array for Radio Astronomy Mission Feasiblity Analysis (XSOLARA)."

XSOLARA was accepted for the 2013 IEEE Aerospace Conference. Banazadeh plans to continue working on XSOLARA as part of his graduate research. He is in the process of applying to graduate school.

Read more about Banazadeh.

Bevo-2 Satellite: Behind the Scenes in the Satellite Design Laboratory

Students at the Satellite Design Lab in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics will soon see their microsatellite project launched into space.

A team of students designed and built Bevo-2, a powerful, cube-shaped satellite so small it can be held in the palm of your hand. Thanks to months of hard work, Bevo-2 is a key part of an upcoming space mission.

"It's great to do the hands on engineering yourself and see it turn into something real," said Travis Imken, a graduate student. "In two years, we'll get to see the satellite go from project conception to final delivery."

By the end of the year, Bevo-2 will be deployed into orbit to conduct imaging, communication and navigation tests.

Bevo-2 is the second in a series of missions that was initiated by aerospace professor Robert Bishop. NASA Johnson Space Center has provided support for the mission, which involves two university satellite teams – The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M.

Read more about Imken.