The Earth Observation CubeSats
BeaverCube is going to be a series of CubeSats developed at MIT. The first one, BeaverCube 1, is a 3U CubeSat with two main objectives: demonstrate that it is possible to use CubeSats to measure climate change parameters, and demonstrate electrospray propulsion for CubeSats, enabling coordinated and targeted science missions among multiple spacecraft. After being deployed from the ISS, the propulsion system will be used to change the altitude of the satellite. BeaverCube 1 will host three cameras: one visible and two long-wavelength infrared. In-situ measurements will be coordinated with an array of ocean buoys to support calibration and validation. BeaverCube 1 will track warm water on the Northeastern section of the US coast, one of the regions in the world that is heating the fastest due to climate change. Wide geospatial coverage with near-simultaneous measurements of thermal and bio-optical ocean properties by a CubeSat has the potential to address many important oceanographic questions. BeaverCube 1 is planned to be launched in mid-2022 inside a Nanoracks deployer. I have been responsible for the thermal and mechanical design, testing of each component/subsystem, and part of the systems engineering in the project. I am now leading the final assembly, integration, and testing.
The second satellite in the series, BeaverCube 2, will use artificial intelligence to analyze images taken by visual and infrared cameras. BeaverCube 2 has recently passed it's PDR, and I am one of the people working on the mechanical engineering subsystem of that satellite.