Spacecraft Carrying PVAMU Payload Launches into Space
A team from Prairie View A&M University developed a payload that launched into Earth’s polar orbit on October 29. The payload is riding aboard the Ten-Koh spacecraft built by the Kyushu Institute of Technology-Japan (KIT) for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
“We designed and developed the payload, SHARP-CPD (Solar and Heliospheric Assessment of Radiation Particles – Charged Particle Detector), from May 2017 thru May 2018,” said Regents Professor Dr. Premkumar Saganti, who also serves as PVAMU’s principal scientist on the project. “It’s a collaborative effort between the Texas A&M University Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI), Radiation Institute for Science and Engineering (RaISE), and the NASA Johnson Space Center for the Ten-Koh spacecraft of KIT-Japan.”
Two undergraduate students, Patierre Thorpe and Seth Saganti, and two graduate students, Mahmudur Rahman and Sonia Kolluri, along with Dr. Gary Erickson, Ramesh Dwivedi, and Brian Cudnik from PVAMU helped along the way.
“We had great support from Doug Holland as a principal engineer and Richard Hagen of NASA Johnson Space Center who built the payload at NASA laboratories with technical and engineering support from Jacobs Engineering,” said Saganti. “Our PVAMU envisioned and developed payload is the primary scientific investigation instrument on Ten-Koh. With SHARP-CPD, we can understand the radiation data variations and its impact of the radiation risk for future human explorations in earth orbits and deep-space expeditions. The way we designed and integrated these sensors could be first of its kind approach for space exploration.”
Researchers hope to have the spacecraft collect data over the next three to five years. If it continues to remain in orbit with optimal power consumption and rotational dynamics, Ten-Koh can operate for up to 25 years.
“This certainly is a unique opportunity for our institution in space exploration endeavors,” said Saganti. “PVAMU has had a partnership with NASA for several decades, and our partnership with KIT-Japan goes back at least five years. These agencies trust us with their time and expertise in our exploration endeavors. It is a tremendous honor.”
To view additional pictures of the Ten-Koh spacecraft and its launch broadcast, visit pvamu.edu/raise/space-payload/charged-particle-detector-2018.
By Marchita Shilo