UF-RadSat to aid discovery

Credit: NASA

The University of Florida RadSat (UF-RadSat) is a collaborative design effort of NASA interns from several universities across the country. The satellite will circle Earth in a geosynchronous transfer orbit, communicating with three Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) and NEN ground stations. This  provides almost constant data coverage – an innovation that could be useful to many future CubeSat missions.

UF-RadSat will be used in conjunction with CubeSat to carry out a number of experiments, the first with a magnesium and gadolinium alloy with radiation mitigating properties. The alloy, stronger and lighter than steel or aluminium, will be tested for its on-orbit effectiveness in trapping thermal neutrons. The experiment will determine the metal’s usefulness in mitigating the risks posed by radiation to future human spaceflight endeavours.

It will also be used to assess the reliability of power metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) under the harsh radiation conditions of space.