About

Introduction

Taylor students perform groundbreaking work on satellites for NASA and the Air Force. Using advanced software and equipment, students build and design nano-satellites to conduct research in relatively unexplored areas of low-level space. Taylor’s satellite program allows undergrads to work on graduate-level projects and apply what they learn in class to solve real-world problems.

Opportunities

Taylor’s identity as a Christian liberal arts school gives students advantages that enable them to produce high-quality work.

All 15 students working on the ELEOsat get the advantage, as undergraduates, of learning to build the majority of their satellite's hardware as well as overseeing other facets of the project. In the end, they have a greater understanding of all aspects of their product.

Team members gain professional experience and network with members of NASA and the Air Force.

Through the course of the ELEOsat project, Air Force officials have worked with Taylor students. Grants from NASA and the Air Force fund most of Taylor’s satellite projects, so students are responsible for communicating with the external stakeholders. They get the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., and other locations to attend meetings and present their projects.

Students see how their efforts bring glory to the Creator.

The process of uncovering phenomena in the universe is glorifying to God in that it exposes the wonder of His creation. In creating circuit boards and other hardware and collaborating with professionals, students see the quality of their work serve as a witness of their faith.

The Projects

The ELEOsat will test completely new technologies that could revolutionize the capabilities of nano-satellites.

The ELEOsat contains an experimental ion engine that has the potential to accelerate particles in the ionosphere through the craft. This is the first step in using these particles to generate momentum and propel satellites. The momentum generated may allow ELEOsat to remain in orbit longer than most nano-satellites.

Taylor’s Space Research program is an ongoing endeavor.

Students currently working on the ELEOsat are training underclassmen to take over the project. Each year, the work continues from where it left off.

Students from multiple majors are involved in the process.

Along with engineering physics students, the project also involves students in majors such as computer science and management. The next round of the University Nano-Sat Program (UNP-9) will begin next year. Taylor hopes to involve more computer science and systems students in that project.

Achievements

Taylor placed fourth in the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s University Nanosatellite Program competition.

TThe Extremely Low Earth Orbit Satellite (ELEOsat) will be one of the five university satellites to be launched in space. The only team comprised entirely of undergrads, Taylor beat large research universities including UCLA and University of Florida.

Taylor Satellite (TSAT) achieved a significant innovation.

Taylor was the first to turn a nano-satellite into a satellite phone. Before the ELEOsat project, TSAT was designed to use a network of satellites called Global Star—generally used for communication by people in remote areas—to immediately communicate collected data to students via email. TSAT was launched spring 2014 by NASA.

The Air Force now encourages other universities to incorporate this technology into their nano-satellite designs.