Students at the University of North Dakota, as part of faculty-mentored teams in a student-lead program, are working to broaden participation in humanity's exploration of space. The OpenOrbiter Small Spacecraft Development Initiative (OSSDI) is demonstrating two complementary paradigm-changers. First, the initiative facilitates student involvement in all aspects of a space program, without the preconceptions present in established space activities. Second, it is demonstrating a low-cost framework for small spacecraft development. These combined activities are poised to demonstrate a new way forward for space exploration: combined, they allow risk-taking exuberance and a cost of entry that makes risk-taking exuberance acceptable, even desirable.
The Open Prototype for Educational NanoSats (OPEN) will be comprised of a complete set of design documents, operating software, testing plans and fabrication and integration instructions that allow a 1U CubeSat-class spacecraft to be created with a parts budget of approximately USD $5,000. This price point allows the project to be paid for from teaching and other accessible and risk-tolerant internal funding sources, allowing student control.
This paper presents the OpenOrbiter Mission and the paradigm changes it is enabling. It compares and considers the mission from a national/international policy perspective and as a pedagogical tool.
- student space program,
- university class spacecraft,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeremy_straub/141/