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CubeCats Applied Training in Space Exploration (CATiSE)

The CubeCats Applied Training in Space Exploration (CATiSE) Program was designed to provide new CubeCats members with the skills necessary to design, integrate, and prepare a CubeSat for launch. The Program begins by allowing new members to determine the mission objectives for a high altitude weather balloon. The rest of the program guides new members through the mission formulation, design, integration, launch, and recovery of their high altitude balloon system. 


The CATiSE Program is broken down into the following 5 phases:

  1.  CATiSE Introduction - The introduction breaks down what the UC CubeCats is all about, introduces members to high altitude balloons, and gets them thinking about the types of missions they may select. 
  2. Mission Concept Development - This section focuses on developing a sound mission concept to serve as the base for design, integration, testing, and launch. It explores all aspects of the mission to foster an understanding of the magnitude of the undertaking.
  3. Design, Integration, and Testing – This phase begins with detailed design of the system followed by guidelines on how to properly integrate all subsystem together. It ends with instructing members how to write a test plan to verify and validate all aspects of the high altitude balloon.
  4. Flight Preparation – The Flight Preparation phase ensures all integration, validation, and verification is 100% complete. New members then develop a launch day plan that includes communication protocol, search team placement, scrub requirements, etc.
  5. Post-Flight Analysis – The Post-Flight Analysis Phase ensures the data captured during the mission is properly analyzed and packaged. It also focuses on capturing any issues during the development of the system and using these to refine the program for future years. This ensures that the program iterates every single year it is done. 

Past Missions

  1. Project Maine Coon: In April of 2015, a camera controlled by a Raspberry Pi was sent into the atmosphere. A boom holding an OLED display extended from the payload to display names of UC CubeCats members in front of the backdrop of Earth. The tracking system utilized GPS and the APRS network. Unfortunately, rough weather conditions during the day of launch caused the payload to get lost in the hills of Virginia.
  2. Project Toyger: In April of 2017, atmospheric radiation, photonic measurements,  and panoramic photographs were taken using two Arduino Uno's during flight. Using APRS an approximate location of the payload was given and later retrieved.
  3. Project Snowshoe: In early April of 2018, a sensor suite controlled by a Raspberry Pi Zero measured the altitude, oxygen levels, pressure, radiation, and temperature in order to determine the effects of high altitude on the human body was sent 33km up in the atmosphere. An attached camera recorded the initial launch and part of it's journey through the atmosphere (find the footage on UC CubeCats Youtube page). A GPS tracking system along as the APRS network was used to locate and retrieve the intact payload.

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