Vermont Tech Launches a Cube Satellite into Space

19 Nov 2013

Randolph, Vt. — Today, Vermont Tech is proud to announce that a small satellite built and programmed at the college has been launched into space. The first college in New England to launch a cube satellite, Vermont Tech’s Lunar Lander CubeSat will remain in space for three to five years, testing the navigation components that will eventually be used to send a satellite to the moon.  The CubeSat was launched as part of the ORS-3 Mission from the NASA Wallops Island, Virginia Flight Facility and is part of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) IV program. This is an initiative created to build interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for students.

“It’s an extremely exciting opportunity for Vermont Tech to pioneer this journey into space exploration,” said Carl Brandon, a professor of Science and Aeronautical Engineering Technology at Vermont Tech and organizer of the project. “As an initiative that has been years in the making, we’re thrilled to take the next step with the CubeSat and share this unique experience with our students.”

Cube satellites are small, 4-inch aluminum cubes that are designed for space research. Students at Vermont Tech have been heavily involved in the production of the CubeSat Lunar Lander Project, with much of the software developed by a recent Vermont Tech graduate. The ORS-3 Mission, also known as the Enabler Mission, will demonstrate launch and range improvements to include: automated vehicle trajectory targeting, range safety planning, and flight termination; employ a commercial-like procurement with FAA licensing of a Minotaur 1; and launch the Air Force’s Space Test Program Satellite-3 and 24 CubeSats on an Integrated Payload Stack.  These enablers not only focus on the ability to execute a rapid call-up mission, they also automate engineering tasks that once took months and reduce those timelines to days and/or hours resulting in decreased mission costs.

“We are extremely proud to be Vermont and New England’s leader in creating and executing this space exploration technology,” noted President of Vermont Tech Dr. Phil Conroy. “This is an important opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to work together on an advanced and innovative project.”

The CubeSat project is supported by grants from the Vermont Space Grant Consortium, a part of the NASA Space Grant program. Vermont Tech has also received generous donations of commercial software from AdaCore, SofCheck, Praxis and Rowley Associates to support the project.

To learn more about Vermont Tech’s CubeSat, please visit


About Vermont Tech – Vermont Tech is the only public institution of higher learning in Vermont whose mission is applied education. One of the five Vermont State Colleges, Vermont Tech serves students from throughout Vermont, New England, and beyond at its two residential campuses in Williston and Randolph Center, regional campuses in Brattleboro and Bennington, and at five nursing campuses located throughout the state. Vermont Tech takes an optimistic, rooted and personal approach to education to support students in gaining the confidence and practical skills necessary to not only see their potential, but to experience it. Our academic programs encompass a wide range of engineering technology, agricultural, health, and business fields that are vital to producing the knowledgeable workers needed most by employers in the state and in the region.