Project Imua develops payloads for space flight

Project Imua is a team of students and faculty from four UH Community Colleges (Honolulu CC, Kapi’olani CC, Kaua’i CC and Windward CC).

The team successfully conducted final mission simulation tests of their payload and scientific experiments. This was a requirement for the launch of their payload scheduled for NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia tomorrow August 16th.

Project Imua is a joint faculty-student enterprise of four University of Hawai’i Community College campuses. Its primary mission is to develop small payloads for space flight while providing undergraduates with project-based learning opportunities in STEM fields.

This multi-campus project is funded by a two-year $500,000 grant awarded to the Hawai’i Space Grant Consortium under the NASA Space Grant Competitive Opportunity for Partnerships with Community Colleges and Technical Schools, which includes $200,000 in student internships.

Operating under the RockSat-X program, the first Project Imua Payload (PIP) was successfully launched on August 12, 2015 by a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket from Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in Virginia. That first payload consisted of an ultraviolet spectrometer for measuring solar irradiance, an array of photosensors for determining the payload’s orientation to the sun and a 9-axis motion detector.

Project Imua is currently integrating and conducting final tests on its second payload named PrIME (Project Imua Multiple Experiment). Included in PrIME:
A neutron-gamma ray detector designed and fabricated by Kaua’i CC, a prototype, which is being tested for a possible future orbital flight.

An innovatively powered rocket designed by Windward CC and fabricated using a 3-D printer.ScubeR (Super Simple Sublimation Rocket) will be deployed at the peak of the NASA sounding rocket’s flight.

Honolulu Community College has configured two on-board Mobius Action cameras to record video and pictures of the flight and has selected a motion tracker to record g-forces.

The Kapi’olani Community College team developed the payload’s interface boards for power and conditioning and data processing and transfer, as well as the housing for these circuits.

A team of three mentors and eight students will return to Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to conduct finals test for integration and launch on a NASA sounding rocket. This sub-orbital flight, which will carry the payload to an altitude of approximately 100 miles during its 15-minute mission, is scheduled for launch on August 16, 2016.

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