Welcome to Space @ Virginia Tech

2017 Virginia Tech RockSat-X Launch a Massive Success

VT RockSat-X Launch 2017

The launch went off without a hitch almost exactly at 0530 this morning. I am incredibly pleased to report that the VT experiment was a massive success. We received thousands of packets from the payload at both the Mobile Ground Station and the Virginia Tech Ground Station. In addition to this we can confirm that the payload also received uplink commands from the VTGS 4.5m Dish antenna (First Official Transmission from the VTGS!). We had a minor anomaly in the reception of one type of target emitter, but other than that (and the ridiculous amount of mosquitoes), we were very pleased with the launch and the results, read more.

Congratulations to Dr. Scott Bailey and his team on a successful sounding rocket launch at Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska. The launch can be viewed around the 38 minute mark in the embedded video above.

The NASA sounding rocket, Polar Night Nitric Oxide (PolarNox) was successfully launched on January 26. The mission was led  by Dr. Scott Bailey of Space@VT with the support of Dr. Justin Carstens, Karthik Venkataramani, Stephen Noel, Dr. Brentha Thurairajah, and several others. A key collaborator and designer of the instrument is Dr. William McClintock of the University of Colorado.

Nitric oxide plays an important role in upper atmospheric dynamics, but its abundance in the the polar regions under prolonged nighttime conditions is not well known. The PolarNOx experiment was proposed as the first direct measurement of nitric oxide densities in the polar night. By looking at a star through the Earth's atmosphere and measuring attenuation of the starlight at specific wavelengths, we can infer the amount of nitric oxide present in the atmosphere. This technique is known as stellar occultation, and was achieved in the PolarNOx payload by using a Cassegrain telescope which collected the starlight, and a spectrograph assembly which produced the required spectrum.

Space@VT Welcomes Dr. Scott England

Dr. Scott England

Dr. Scott England is an Associate Professor in the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department.  His research focuses on the interactions between planetary atmospheres and the space environment.  He is the Project Scientist for NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON), a co-Investigator on NASA’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission of opportunity and a Participating Scientist on NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission.   

Virginia Tech data stations in Antarctica present
new evidence about space weather

Space@VT Celebrates RockSat-X Launch

RockSat-X launched early Wednesday, August 17, 2016 and carried a payload designed by Virginia Tech students. The payload experiment was a great success, sending data from 153km over the Atlantic Ocean all the way back to the Virginia Tech Ground Station (VTGS). More info coming soon.


Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

News Highlights

Eclipse Hunters: Space @ VT team readying for eclipse

Teams from Virginia Tech and Radford University have been readying for a while for what will be a few moments of prime research time on Aug. 21.

That’s the day of the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since 1979, read more.

Dr. Mark Psiaki named American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Fellow

Dr. Mark Psiaki

Space @ VT's Mark Psiaki, the Kevin Crofton Faculty Chair of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, was recently selected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest aerospace professional society, read more.

Dr. Michael Hartinger received 2016 NASA Heliophysics Supporting Research award. We will examine the dynamics of the Earth's radiation belts during large scale, monochromatic Ultra Low Frequency wave events using satellite observations, ground-based observations, and numerical simulations.

For Graduate Student Katie Mott, Satellite Research
Turns Math into Something Tangible

Katie Mott remembers the first time she heard a conversation beamed off a tiny satellite not much bigger than a loaf of bread.

“It’s so exciting, it really is,” she said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Mott, a first-year doctoral student studying satellite operations in the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, holds a fellowship from the Doctoral Scholars Program of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, or ICTAS, read more.

Dr. Bharat Kunduri

The Virginia Tech SuperDARN group is pleased to announce that Dr. Bharat Kunduri has joined the group as a postdoctoral fellow. Bharat was a graduate student here at Virginia Tech and defended his dissertation on SuperDARN-related topics in the fall of 2013, read more.