Over spring break, several senior design students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering opted to work on a project with The Aerospace Corporation to test a new technology instead of taking a beach vacation, as many of their peers do.

The team designed and built a 3U CubeSat, a modular satellite often used by student researchers because of its low cost, small size, and simple deployability. A 3U CubeSat measures 10 cm x 10 cm x 30 cm, and can be tasked designed to accomplish with a wide variety of tasks. For this application, the Aerospace Corporation partnered with the Virginia Tech Mechanical Engineering Department to challenge a group of seniors to design, build, and deploy a Luneberg Lens from the CubeSat using no electricity.

The Aerospace Company hosted the team at its Payload Characterization and Environments (PACE) Lab in Chantilly, Virginia, where they were able to conduct environmental testing in order to verify the performance of their design.

The team’s project will be showcased, along with projects from 36 other teams, at the upcoming Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Expo April 29th from 1-4 PM at the Lane Stadium South Endzone concourse.