Designing and building a CubeSat is an excellent way for students to experience the entire life cycle of a space mission.
CubeSats are small satellites primarily serving educational and research markets. These tiny spacecraft are helping to democratize access to space by providing a relatively inexpensive platform for the development and deployment of earth-orbiting experiments and technology demonstrations.
Canopy Near-IR Observing Project
In 2016, the Carthage CubeSat team was selected by NASA to design and build an earth-imaging satellite we’re calling CaNOP (Canopy Near-IR Observing Project). The technology goal of CaNOP is to demonstrate the functionality of a large (and expensive) hyperspectral imaging satellite (like those in the LandSat series of spacecraft) in the CubeSat form factor.
The CaNOP science mission is to obtain medium-resolution images of global forest canopies with spectral resolution of 10 nm across the visible and near-infra-red. These data will be used to compute spectral ratios such as NDVI to infer carbon content in both old-growth and harvested forests.