LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – After ten years of development, Utah State University’s (USU) Get Away Special Team satellite deployed from the International Space Station (ISS).
The Get Away Special Passive Attitude Control Satellite, or “GASPACS,” is a technology demonstration mission designed to test inflatable structures in space.
GASPACS was launched in Dec. 2021 to the International Space Station on board the SpaceX CRS-24 mission. It was then deployed from the ISS into “low Earth orbit” on Jan. 26, 2022.
Carter Page, team coordinator, USU Get Away Special, says, “There was about a 35 minute period where we were waiting for the satellite to boot up and start sending out beacons. We were keeping track of different ground stations and radios all around the world, and eventually we heard our audio beacon.”
The audio beacon, which is sent in Morse code, comes as a sigh of relief to everyone who worked on the project.
The tune, “The Scotsman,” plays in 8-bit Morse code over the radio and everyone erupts in applause.
“There’s always a decent chance that a satellite won’t work, so to finally get to that point where it’s working, we went nuts,” says Page.
Jack Danos, operations manager on the project, says, “The fact that we could hear it meant that our satellite had already successfully completed a lot of its operations. It had deployed its antenna, the computer was running and it booted up successfully and it was alive.”
The team is fully comprised of undergraduate students, which Page says is certainly a challenge, but what he calls a “very, very rewarding challenge.”
Page extends an invite to anyone that likes space, no matter the major, to join their team, and to help them build their next satellite.
He says, “Come enjoy what we have felt today.”
For more information on USU’s Get Away Special team, click here.