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USU student-built satellite deploys from the International Space Station and orbits earth

Get Away Special team in Florida getting to watch the launch of their "cubesat" destined for the International Space Station on a SpaceX rocket.
Utah State University
Utah State University
Members of the Get Away Special Team at Florida's Kennedy Space Center

TheUSU Get Away Special Team’s CubeSat communicated with earth after it deployed from the international space station on January 26. The audio beacon sent out a few notes of USU’s Spirit song “the Scotsman.” The transmission was picked up at locations across the world.

The four-inch cubesat called GASPACS, short for Get Away Special Passive Attitude Control Satellite, was deployed from the international space station on January 26 around 5am.

The USU space team gathered on campus to watch the space station’s live video transmission of the event, a major mile stone for USU. According to Utah State Today magazine, it is Utah’s first solely undergraduate-built satellite launched to space and one of the first in the nation. Jack Danos, is the team operations manager,

"the fact that we could hear it meant that our satellite had already completed a lot of its operations. It had deployed its antenna, the computer was running, it booted up successfully and it was alive."

The overall goal of the team’s mission is to see if their unique design of a tightly packed little bundle can successfully unfold into larger structures in space.

Team coordinator Carter Page says building satellites as an undergraduate is a rewarding challenge.

"I invite anyone that like’s space, no matter the major, come join the team, come help us build our next satellite."

USU’s Get Away Special program was founded by aerospace pioneers Gil Moore and Rex Megillin 1979.

Sheri's career in radio began at 7 years old in Los Angeles, California with a secret little radio tucked under her bed that she'd fall asleep with, while listening to The Dr. Demento Radio Show. She went on to produce the first science radio show in Utah in 1999 and has been reporting local, national and international stories ever since. After a stint as news director at KZYX on northern California's Lost Coast, she landed back at UPR in 2021.