Satellite built by CU students nears launch

September 11, 2013

A beach ball-sized satellite designed and built by University of Colorado Boulder students to gain a better understanding of how atmospheric drag affects satellite orbits is slated to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, the school announced Wednesday.

The satellite, known as the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer, or DANDE, is designed to investigate how a layer of Earth's atmosphere known as the thermosphere varies in density at altitudes between 200 and 300 miles. In general, the denser the thermosphere, the more drag there is on spacecraft, said Colorado Space Grant Consortium deputy direct Brian Sanders, who is helping oversee the student group on the DANDE project.

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