EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - From here on Earth, some University of Southern Indiana students are shooting for the moon with a new project. They're putting the finishing touches on a UNITE CubeSat spacecraft.
We're told the spacecraft will be sent to the International Space Station. From there it will be deployed around the Earth for about 18 months.
"During that 440 days as it falls around the Earth it's going to do several experiments," Associate Professor of Engineering Dr. Glen Kissel said. "The main experiment will be to measure the plasma in the ionosphere. It will measure the density of the plasma and the temperature of the plasma. It has a GPS on board that it will carefully track the decay of the orbit over those 440 days that it's falling around the Earth."
The CubeSat was designed and built by a graduate team at the university. We're told students came up with the idea in 2016 and started putting it together about a year ago.
"They have been excited to be involved in this unique project here that a lot of students don't get involved in," Kissel said. "Of course this is going to be the first spacecraft from USI so they are excited about that."
Kissel says the spacecraft has gone through several tests. Students will be able to track the device as it's floating around in space.
Dr. Kissel also mentioned the possibility of launching another spacecraft in the future.
For now, we're told this one will be deployed in 2019.