NASA has selected a CU-Boulder CubeSat, called the High Latitude Ionospheric Thermospheric Experiment, or HiLITE, as one of 24 satellites to be funded in the fourth round of its CubeSat Launch Initiative. The CubeSats, will fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rocket missions scheduled for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
HiLITE will be a collaboration between the aerospace department and two small Boulder-based companies, Blue Canyon Technologies and ASTRA, which are supported by the Air Force to help develop CubeSat hardware.
Associate Professor Scott Palo says the HiLITE bus will build upon the CubeSat for Atmospheric Studies in Orbit and Re-entry (CASTOR), which was developed as a senior project by students Shane Ahrens, Jacob Cook, Maxwell Knarr, Denver Powell, Mark Coffman, Melissa Honaker, Jack Mills, and Jonathon Stark. A new student team will be selected later this semester to continue the project.
HiLITE’s mission will be to measure atmospheric density, which impacts satellite positioning, and other space weather conditions.