[Via Satellite 02-24-2016] Two satellites, Texas A&M University’s AggieSat4 satellite and University of Texas’ Bevo 2 satellite, have deployed from the International Space Station (ISS), MEI Technologies (MEIT) announced Feb. 23. The satellites are for a mission dubbed the Low Earth Orbiting Navigation Experiment for Spacecraft Testing Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking (LONESTAR), for which MEIT serves as the mentor under a NASA Johnson Space Center Engineering, Technology, and Science (JETS) contract.
The purpose of the LONESTAR mission — which is the second of four missions in the LONESTAR investigation project — is for the two satellites to talk, take pictures and track each other while moving closely together. The LONESTAR project is meant to demonstrate the capability of satellites to autonomously rendezvous and dock with each other, saving man hours and eliminating human error.
MEIT’s mentorship role on the LONESTAR project is to provide guidance and oversee the design and build of the satellites, as well as take the project through NASA testing, integration and safety processes and requirements. The MEIT engineers who support this university program work on the Department of Defense (DOD) Human Exploration Payloads (DHEP) contract. On this prime contract for the company, MEIT supports the U.S. Air Force through payload integration and integrating DOD experiments. Prior to this mission, MEIT mentored LONESTAR’s first mission, named DragonSat, successfully launching and deploying satellites AggieSat2 and Bevo 1 from the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
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