M-Cubed Updates

March 29th, 2012

While there have not been too many updates on the behalf of the M-Cubed mission, we can still hear M-Cubed during some of its passes. Our battery seems to still be working properly as well as four of our solar panels. We have yet to get a command through to M-Cubed, but we're still trying every week.

MXL has been working on implementing a new ground station here at Michigan throughout the past two semesters. We have been able to hear some passes from both M-Cubed and RAX using the antennas. Within the next few weeks, the ground station should be completely up and running. Once this is completed we will continue to try to get through to our satellite using this ground station.


M-Cubed Feasibility Report

February 15th, 2012

While the team has not entirely given up on the possiblity of M-Cubed completing its mission, we have now turned our focus towards the docking of E1-P and M-Cubed. We are heavily investigating this to possibly stop this in future missions for MXL and all other CubeSats. While we may not have gotten the data we originally wanted to, we are trying to accomplish as much as possible from this mission.


SRI Visit Unsuccesful

January 17th, 2012

The team sent out several members to Stanford Research Institute to attempt to command the satellite from there. Unfortunately, they were not able to. There were promising signs, but the satellite was never able to acknowledge any of the commands set up during several passes. The members exhausted all of their options through a tireless weekend, but were not able to resolve this unfortunate situation.

We are currently trying to work with E1-P in a joint effort to command the two satellites. This appears to be our last option at resolving the problem. A special thanks to all of those at JPL and SRI that helped this weekend.


Team Returned from Break

January 9th, 2012

The team has now returned from a nice break. There have not been too many updates due to the holiday. The team is still working with members at JPL and SRI to try to command the satellite from SRI.


M-Cubed Team Preparing to Fly Out to SRI

December 12th, 2011

The team is putting together a plan to fly out to Stanford Research Institute (SRI) to try to command M-Cubed from their ground station. We are still very confident that we are docked to E1-P, and we feel that the ground station at SRI gives us the best oppurtunity to command our spacecraft.

We have still been receiving beacons from ground stations in Japan and Germany and have heard M-Cubed in Ann Arbor, but have yet to receive a beacon here at Michigan.


M-Cubed Docked to E1-P?

December 6th, 2011

What was initially just a "thinking outside the cube" theory has now become much more of a reality. When we first started diagnosing why M-Cubed was so quiet and why we weren't receiving beacons at expected intervals, we threw out the idea that perhaps it was stuck to Explorer 1-Prime. After studying the Doppler shifts of both satellites, we have concluded the consistent correspondance between the two sats is far more than a coincidence. Also, NORAD has not picked up any further satellites between the two objects we believe are M-Cubed and E1-P.

The image below shows exactly how close M-Cubed and E1-P's Doppler's match up.

The spectogram below shows that E1-P may actually be amplifying and mirroring M-Cubed's signal. A special thanks to Mike Rupprecht (DK3DWN) and Tetsu san (JA0CAW) for their continued work tracking M-Cubed around the world!

Currently, the team is investigating the feasibility of how this may of happened and planning the next steps of operation.


M-Cubed Updates

November 23rd, 2011

We still have not gotten a command up to M-Cubed so we have continued to listen for M-Cubed during each of its Ann Arbor passes. M-Cubed has continued to beacon over other ground stations around the world, most recently in Japan. The beacon showed that our battery is still in very good shape, which is a very good sign.

We believe that M-Cubed may still be tumbling at a steady rate which may be affecting its ability to transmit and recieve. In the mean time, we will be focusing most of the passes on RAX, since RAX is fully operational over all passes. Hopefully once M-Cubed's tumble rate slows we will be hearing from M-Cubed on a more consistent basis and we can start operating the spacecraft.


Still Hearing From M-Cubed...

November 10th, 2011

We have received numerous updates regarding M-Cubed beaconing around the world and have heard M-Cubed on several occasions when it is passing Ann Arbor. However, we have not seen any proof that it has received any of our commands. We have numerous theories that we are trying to test out in the lab, and hope that this issue will be resolved soon. In the mean time, we will continue to send M-Cubed various commands while it is over Ann Arbor.

We are also working on setting up a new ground station at the FXB. We are looking forward to getting it up and running.


M-Cubed has been heard!

November 2nd, 2011

There has been a lot of positive news in the past few days regarding communication with M-Cubed. A faint signal has been heard by multiple ground stations around the world and we have heard faint sounds of a beacon here in Ann Arbor. We have not been able to send the satellite any commands yet, but there has been a lot of positive news regarding ground stations hearing from M-Cubed.

Our hope is that once M-Cubed begins to separate from the rest of the CubeSats, we will have a stronger signal.


We are still tracking M-Cubed

October 31st, 2011

Over the weekend, we worked tirelessly towards tracking M-Cubed and have found some interesting data, that leads us to believe M-Cubed is on, but we haven't been able to talk to it from our ground station in Ann Arbor. The RAX satellite picked up several packets of information right out deployment, that match up with the size of M-Cubed's beacon. There have also been several ground stations that have picked up very weak signals of beacons that resemble M-Cubed's. We have not been able to successfully send commands or receive beacons from M-Cubed here in Ann Arbor, so we are currently trying to diagnose that problem.


M-Cubed is in Space

October 28th, 2011

M-Cubed, along with RAX-2 and the other cubeSats were succesfully deployed at about 7:30 EST this morning. We approximate that we will first hear from M-Cubed close to 11:30 a.m. when we expect it to pass our Ann Arbor ground station. We should be able to downlink around 1:30 p.m. today. Check in for more statuses later in the day.


T- 1 Day

October 27th, 2011

Launch is only one day away and the entire lab is excited. The launch window starts at 5:48 EST tomorrow.

For a live stream of the launch head to http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d357/status.html.

Hopefully we will be hearing from M-Cubed within 6 hours or so after launch. We will be updating the website with as many updates as we can regarding the mission.


Launch Date Has Slipped Again

October 19th, 2011

The launch date has slipped again for NPP. We will now be launching October 28th, 2011. We have the same launch window starting at 9:48 GMT (5:48 EST or 2:48 PST).


Launch Date Has Slipped

October 5th, 2011

Unfortunately, the launch date has slipped for NPP. We will now be launching on October 27th, 2011. Our launch window is starts at 9:48 GMT (5:48 EST or 2:48 PST). The slip was due to a cracked hydraulic pipe.

We will put up a link for a stream of launch as soon as we find one.


Ground Station and Mission-Ops Teams

September 20th, 2011

Since there is no longer technical work to be done direclty to our satellite, the team has broken up into two teams: ground station and mission operations. The ground station team is preparing our ground stations at the University of Michigan to handle two satellites (ours and the RAX satellite) and being able to operate our satellite from Ann Arbor. The mission-ops team is responsible for setting forth an order of operations once our satellite can downlink to our ground station.


M-Cubed Integrated into P-Pod

September 13th, 2011

M-Cubed is a GO for launch. We have passed all of our acceptance testing and are now integrated into the P-Pod at CalPoly. The P-Pod will be integrated into the Delta II rocket and then launched up on October 25th, 2011. Congratulations to the team, M-Cubed (fingers crossed) should be in space within the next two months.


M-Cubed is clean and ready for delivery

August 30th, 2011

The team cleaned off the solar cells yesterday and tied down the antennas. Today, we are packing the satellite up and shipping it off to CalPoly. It should be integrated into the spacecraft on September 6th, and launched on October 25th.

This day marks the end of work on the flight unit and a time of celebration. In the next two months, the team will continue to work on preparing our ground station and awaiting the launch of M-Cubed into space.


Mission Patches Are In

August 23rd, 2011

Jon Marc O'Kins' was able to come up with a nice design for our mission patch. The patches and stickers have now arrived and we would gladly send a patch to anyone that has helped in the duration of M-Cubed.

If you would like a patch or a sticker, you can request one here


NOAA License Approved

August 11th, 2011

After an on-site inspection of our satellite and facilities, NOAA has officially approved ourl license. M-Cubed has now been cleared by all necessary government agencies and is ready for liftoff.



Environmental Testing is Complete

August 8th, 2011

The integrated M-Cubed strucutre has now gone through all environmental testing, including vibrational, thermal, and shock testing. M-Cubed was functional before and after all tests, and did not turn on throughout the duration of the tests. Final checkouts are being completed on the structure within the next week to ensure that it is ready for delivery.


Flight Unit Has Been Integrated and Checked Out

July 28th, 2011

The M-Cubed Flight Unit was fully integrated, including the COVE SIRF board. All components have been properly staked down and the EPS and C&DH teams have performed multiple check-out tests. So far, M-Cubed has proved to be fully funcitonal and there have been minimal problems encountered during the process. M-Cubed will undergo a vibrational test and thermal bakeout before being flown out to California for shock testing next week.

Check Out


Solar Cells are Attached

July 26th, 2011

The flight solar cells have been attached to our solar panels. We have also applied a kapton layer on our solar panels, which should increase the life of our spacecraft. Flight unit integration should begin within the next week.

Solar Cells


COVE Board is in

July 9th, 2011

Members from JPL and ESTO showed up to Ann Arbor on Thursday with the COVE board. Thanks to the good work put in by them and our C&DH and EPS teams, the COVE board is capable of being integrated into our system. With all of our subsystem components in, the flight unit is being built, and should be completed within the next week.


Conformal Coating Complete

July 5th, 2011

After a nice July 4th weekend, the team is back at it. Over the end of last week and throughout the weekend, we applied a conformal coating to all of our flight boards. We cannot be thankful enough to the engineers at Space Physis Research Lab for their help. Now that this step has been completed, we should finish up our board staking, fabricate our solar cells, and begin our structural integration.

Battery Board STAMP


Flight Unit Build

June 28th, 2011

July is nearing, which means our flight unit build is in progress. All of our flight-unit boards are in and the team is working as hard as ever to build a working satellite. Most of the flight ready hardware has been machined, and the EPS and C&DH teams are working hard to finish up their boards. Last night also marked the first round of staking done on our flight components. The team is excited about one final push and even more excited about the long nights ahead. With the RAX team also entering their last few weeks before delivery, the lab has become quite congested.

Staking staking


Catching Up

June 27th, 2011

With so much work being done this summer, there was little time to keep everyone updated via our website. So for those of you that are just checking up on M-Cubed, here's a list of some of the things we've done this summer:

In early May, we integrated a complete EDU with all boards inside. We did not have our radios on, since they were not in-house yet, but the rest of our structure was functional. We preformed our first vibe test, which was a long anticipated milestone. Unfortunately, not all of our internal components survived, including our battery mount and some of our wire harnesses. Not to be discouraged, we hit the white boards and made some revisions to our design and integration process.

The next milestone we were driving towards was our second vibe test, which took place in mid-June. We made sure that whatever components we were testing were as close to flight conditions as possible. This time we included a functional radio (the other was not programmed at the time) and all other hardware was included. This time, vibe testing was much more succesful, as all our structural components held up, and our satellite was functional after. Our satellite never turned on during the test, and we even downlinked an image from our satellite to a computer in our lab (see image below, left). It was a night that signalled progress and also a round of drinks on our project manager's tab. Onward to our flight unit.

This also marks the beginning of some EDU testing. First, we performed some testing in the Michigan anechoic chamber for our antennas. Then, we started up some long term testing. The EPS and C&DH teams have set up a station in our lab (along side the RAX satellite) that simulates our satellite in orbit.

uploaded picture Vibe Test


New Website!

June 27th, 2011

As M-Cubed nears its delivery date, we figured it was a good idea to remodel our website. Browse through the tabs to learn some information about M-Cubed or check up on the 'news' tab for recent updates on M-Cubed progress.


M-Cubed MXL s3flESTO