CloudSat Frictionless Test Platform

Olin-NASA Research Group > Projects > Cloud CubeSat


This page is about one of the 2009 NASA summer projects at Olin College. Our team was asked to design a testing platform to evaluate the performance of a microsatellite Attitude Control System, which was developed by other Olin students the previous summer.

Our testing apparatus and the Attitude Control System were both for Vanderlei Martins of the University of Maryland - Baltimore County (UMBC) Physics Department. He and his students are collaborating with the NASA GSFC Climate and Radiation Branch on a CubeSat project called the CloudSat.

To test the Attitude Control System, the testing platform must allow the CloudSat to rotate freely in any direction, and must simulate the frictionless environment of space. We decided to build a spherical enclosure for the CloudSat, and balance this sphere on a jet of air, as depicted in the illustration.