AggieSat2 Student Satellite Mission Conference Paper uri icon


  • AggieSat2, Texas A&M University's first free-flying spacecraft, operated for 230 days in low earth orbit (LEO) from its release from STS-127 Endeavour on 30 July 2009 until its de-orbit on 17 March 2010. This mission was the first in a four-mission campaign, called LONESTAR (Low Earth Orbiting Navigation Experiment for Spacecraft Testing Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking), partnering the Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), AggieSat Lab at Texas A&M, and the University of Texas at Austin (UT) to promote space engineering education as well as research into novel, low-cost autonomous rendezvous and proximity operations techniques. The first-mission requirement was to operate the global positioning system (GPS) receiver built by NASA JSC called DRAGON (Dual RF Astrodynamic GPS Orbital Navigator). AggieSat Lab developed a five-inch cubesat for this first flight, with UT building a similar spacecraft, called Bevo-1. AggieSat2 and Bevo-1 were launched together from the Space Shuttle and were designed to push apart and completely separate from one another for independent operations. The separation however, was incomplete and this hindered communications through antennas which were partially captive within the UT spacecraft. Over time, AggieSat Lab students were able to overcome this unforeseen challenge and establish basic spacecraft operations. AggieSat2 was an end-to-end process and served as a learning platform for all participating students. AggieSat Lab is looking forward to applying the lessons learned from this mission to future flight programs through the NASA JSC and UT partnership.

name of conference

  • 50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition

published proceedings

  • 50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition

author list (cited authors)

  • Graves, J., Perez, J., Reed, H., McLelland, A., Kanipe, D., Provence, R., & Runkle, T.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Graves, John||Perez, Joseph||Reed, Helen||McLelland, Angela||Kanipe, David||Provence, Robert||Runkle, Timothy

publication date

  • January 2012