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What’’s with all those antennas on the dental tower?

Published: April 16th, 2009

Category: News

Space. The final frontierThey’re not just there for decoration – they’re talking to the world and the stars. Really. Since 1981, the dental tower has been home to the Gator Amateur Radio Club (GARC), the ham radio club station for the University of Florida.

Do you want to know more? On Friday, April 17, GARC, along with the Space Systems Group and the Small Satellite Design Club, is coordinating the Second Annual CubeSat Appreciation Day from 9am to 6pm at three locations on campus.

CubeSats are small 10 centimeter cube satellites weighing less than 1 kg, about 2.2 pounds, that can fit in the palm of your hand. CubeSat Appreciation Day gives the public an opportunity to see how amateur radio satellite communication works and showcases “SwampSat,” a CubeSat that UF students are designing.

CubeSat design programs are growing in popularity among universities. A few years ago these satellites were considered orbital debris or educational toys. Today CubeSats are game-changers, pushing the boundaries of space technology and allowing rapid access to space not seen in the market until now.

SwampSat, when launched, will mark UF’s debut into the CubeSat universe, so to speak.

CubeSat Appreciation Day Locations
Friday, April 17 from 9am to 6pm

You can pick up information about the day’s activities and future plans at a Small Satellite Design information table in the NEB Rotunda.

HSC Dental Tower
Mission Control Room “Gator Nation Earth Station,” Room D11-27

–when SwampSat launches, this room will serve as the control and command center for the satellite

New Engineering Building
Mission Operations Center, Room NEB 150

–featuring simulations and real-time tracking of amateur satellites

Smallsat Lab, Room NEB 185
–featuring hardware demonstrations

As part of the day’s events, the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering is also hosting an open house from 1 to 3:30pm.

The Small Satellite Design Club, established in fall 2005, promotes the development of space exploration through innovative small satellite technology within the University of Florida community. The membership is comprised mostly of a multidisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate engineering students. The group participates in annual design competitions campus organizational fairs which educate students about spacecraft engineering.

The Gator Amateur Radio Club, a University of Florida Student Organization, was established in 1934 and is one of the oldest clubs in the country. The group runs monthly meetings, satellite nights and open houses. The club also assists other hams and groups in local events such as the March of Dimes and performs emergency communications when disaster threatens or strikes our area.

The Space Systems Group, a graduate research team in the Department of Mechanical &
Aerospace Engineering, is currently providing technical support for the SwampSat and FUNSAT activities. The group’s research expertise is modeling, simulating and controlling small satellites.

For more information:
Dante Buckley, (352) 846-1667   ufsmallsat@gmail.com

Club web sites: http://www.gatorradio.org
http://www.mae.ufl.edu/ssg
http://www.ufsmallsat.com