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Coast Guard Space Program

Stefanie Senkow
August 6, 2018

Coast Guard Space ProgramCutting-edge satellite technology orbiting in space. Brand-new satellite ground station - the hub of break-through research. Sounds more like NASA than the Coast Guard Academy. But this fall, the Academy is rolling out a series of projects that will allow cadets to engage in research that will lay the foundation for the first-ever Coast Guard space program.

The momentum got underway last fall with the construction of three CubeSats (Cube Satellites) as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Polar Scout mission in collaboration with the Research and Development Center, and will be followed by the launch of three of nine Thin Satellites (ThinSats) into low Earth orbit this fall. The study of these ThinSats, from their construction to their data processing capabilities, will be the center of a newly-revamped Remote Sensing course, directed studies courses, and a multitude of capstone projects that will put cadets at the forefront of the Coast Guard’s space-based missions, helping to improve the science, operations and functionality behind them. The ThinSat research will then support the implementation of future CubeSat missions and investigations. The research collected from the ThinSat study will help the Coast Guard to expand the existing Polar Scout CubeSat operations.

“In addition to numerous cadet research projects, this research will lead to experiments with Navy Research Labs Plasma Physics Division, and will also initiate engagement opportunities with the local STEM magnet high school,” said CDR Royce James, Ph.D. - CGA Physics Section Chief.

And to cap it all off, Smith Hall, the Coast Guard Academy’s science building, will become home to a comprehensive ground station this fall with the installation of a Radome that can track, control and command orbiting spacecraft. The ground station will support communications, data acquisition and mission execution to further supplement cadet research to help the Coast Guard’s space program blast off.