Over the past seventy years, scientists and researchers have launched numerous space missions to push the boundaries of technology and our understanding of the universe. The University of Arizona has been home to many of these spacecraft, soon to include CatSat.

CatSat is a 6U CubeSat being built and tested by University of Arizona students, faculty, and staff.

The satellite will launch atop a Firefly Alpha rocket into a nearly sun synchronous orbit around the Earth. Thanks to some trickery on behalf of orbital mechanics, this peculiar orbit ensures that the satellite will remain constantly in daylight, maximizing the capabilities of the mission.

During the mission’s six month expected lifetime, CatSat will detect high frequency signals from HAM radio operators all around the globe with its WSPR antenna, demonstrate an inflatable antenna for high bandwidth transmission, and provide high resolution imaging of the Earth. The data this satellite provides will give insights on the variation of the ionosphere and the technical capabilities of the new systems being tested.

CatSat is supported by FreeFall Aerospace and Rincon Research Corporation, with both companies also assisting in development and spacecraft testing. CatSat is funded by the UArizona Office of the Vice President for Research and the Arizona Space Institute. CatSat’s launch is provided by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.