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Student-Built Satellite on Track For 2020 Launch

November 27, 2019

Scheduled to launch in March 2020, the SPectral Ocean Color (SPOC) satellite is one of two satellites designed and built by students in the Small Satellite Research Laboratory (SSRL)

Already having come a long way, the Small Satellite Research Lab's SPectral Ocean Color (SPOC) satellite will soon be on its way to space.

On December 10th, the research group will travel with SPOC to Houston to integrate the satellite with NanoRacks, the launch provider.

Launch is currently scheduled for March 1st in Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX 20 will take SPOC to the International Space Station (ISS).

"I have already spoken to Marcia Hodge, VP of Sales at NanoRacks about making this a big event since this will be UGA's first satellite. She said they will try to roll out the red carpet for us!" -- David Cotten, Associate Director of the SSRL

SPOC's next phase will be deployment into space from the International Space Station. From there, it will begin its mission of acquiring data on coastal ecosystems and ocean color.

"At the moment we do not know what this exact schedule looks like, but I have been given some estimates.
We will know the week of deployment ~3 months before it occurs.
We will know the day of deployment ~1 month before it occurs.
And we will know the exact time of deployment ~2 weeks before."

SPOC Satellite
SPOC Satellite
SPOC satellite loaded into it's deployment capsule.
SPOC satellite loaded into its deployment capsule.

Mission Overview

SPOC_patch.pngThe SPectral Ocean Color (SPOC) satellite mission was received funding in mid-2016. It was funded through the second iteration of NASA'S Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP).

The SPOC's mission will be to acquire moderate resolution imagery across a wide range of spectral bands to monitor coastal ecosystems and ocean color. SPOC will acquire image data between 433 and 866 nm to monitor 1) coastal wetlands status, 2) estuarine water quality including wetland biophysical characteristics and phytoplankton dynamics, and 3) near-coastal ocean productivity. SPOC shall use multispectral remote sensing techniques to quantify vegetation health, primary productivity, ocean productivity, suspended sediments, and organic matter in coastal regions.

SPOC's payload is an adjustable, 16-band multispectral imager called the eye, and it's what makes SPOC unique. The payload structure for SPOC was designed by Cloudland Instruments. The UGA SSRL SPOC team is actively building and refining the optical structure.

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