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NASA to design a satellite made by Puerto Rican students

Students at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico’s College of Engineering at Bayamon Campus (IAUPRBC) work with NASA, the Florida Space Institute and the University of Central Florida (UCF) Department of Physics in hopes of launching a new satellite into space on August 31, 2021.

The first Puerto Rican satellite has been integrated into the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer, and will be transported and launched from a Falcon 9 rocket as part of Mission SpaceX 23 to the International Space Station.

Puerto Rico will become one of the few regions that have launched a satellite into space and contribute to the study and development of similar devices.

Called CubeSat NanoRocks-2 or PR-CuNaR2, the satellite is made of aluminum, photovoltaic cells and other materials approved for use in space.

Jake Cornish, task manager at Nanoracks in Houston has been part of the organization for more than two years, but has never worked with content creators from Puerto Rico. He hopes the new project will introduce NASA to more engineers around the world.

“We want to expand access to space for everyone around the world, and it’s really exciting to get #1 in Puerto Rico,” Cornish said.

The engineers involved in the initiative have passed a series of tests conducted by Nanoracks.

The project has been in the works for more than three years and has since been revived by over 25 students in Bayamon.

The Pan-American University was one of several schools selected by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI), as part of the ELaNa program in 2018.

Dr. Amilcar A. is proud. Rincon Charis, principal investigator for Cubesat Mission PR-CuNaR2, said that Puerto Rican engineers will have the ability to demonstrate their skills to NASA.

Charisse Rincon said on the PR-CuNaR2’s website.

The PR-CuNaR2 satellite weighs 5.6 pounds, is four inches wide, four inches long, and has a height of 12 inches.

The liftoff will take place from Cape Canaveral, Florida, will be launched from SpaceX23’s Dragon capsule, and will be launched into space with an extendable boom provided by Nanoracks.

PR-CuNaR2 will remain in orbit for two years.

While in orbit, the satellite takes pictures and records other activity.

“The satellite will pass over Puerto Rico twice a day for 10 minutes,” said Rincon Charisse. “At that time, the satellite team, which will be located on the Bayamón Campus at Inter American, will be able to learn what is happening with the satellite through telemetry and video clips, and will collect the submitted data for later analysis and dissemination.”

PR-CuNaR2 will specifically surround Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is one of four satellites part of NASA’s ElaNa 36 project.


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