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DAVE in Space

Rocket Launch

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission – along with a CubeSat from Cal Poly -- lifts off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Sept. 15.

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Students from PolySat are already communicating with their satellite, known as DAVE, which was launched into space last weekend.

Cal Poly was one of three universities to launch a CubeSat into space Saturday. The mini-satellites were launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base, aboard the Delta II rocket.

PolySat is a student-run research lab and the CubeSat development team at Cal Poly. The concept for CubeSats – miniature satellites that could be launched by rockets carrying out other missions -- was co-created by recently retired aerospace professor Jordi Puig-Suari.

Cal Poly’s first CubeSat was rocketed to space in 2006.

“For a long time, we were the only game in town as far as putting these things in space,” Puig-Suari said in June.

Eventually, others followed, including universities, high schools, government agencies and other nations. Saturday’s launch marked the ninth time Cal Poly has put a CubeSat into space.


Cal Poly CubeSat DAVE

The latest Cal Poly entry is named DAVE – short for Damping and Vibrations Experiment. It was designed the study the behavior of particle dampers in microgravity conditions. Students began attempting to communicate with DAVE at 5 a.m. Sunday. The group has been posting updates on its Facebook page.

To see a Zero-F flight experiment with DAVE, check out this video.

Other CubeSats were launched for UCLA and University of Central Florida.

Delta II was launched by United Launch Alliance, which provides spacecraft launch services. The Delta II’s primary mission was to launch NASA’s ICESat-2 (Ice Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2), which will provide scientists with data to track changes of terrain, including glaciers, sea ice forests and more. The rocket, which first launched in 1989, took off on its latest mission at 6:02 a.m. Saturday.

Built by Northrop Grumman, the spacecraft has launched more than 50 missions for NASA and has launched 155 times since it was built. A bit of a celebrity rocket, it has roved the surface of Mars and is credited with modern GPS navigation, according to United Launch Alliance.

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