On April 24, 2016, the very day when the first Chinese Aerospace Day was set up, the satellite control ground station for UN QB50 Project in Asia was established and put into use in NPU.
According to Zhou Jun, Professor of School of Astronautics in NPU, director of Shaanxi Microsatellite Engineering Laboratory, with the capacity of wireless control and optical control, NPU satellite control ground station can observe and control all the 50 satellites of QB50 Project.
Initiated in 2011, QB50 Project was funded by EU, cosponsored by research institutes such as VKI (the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics) with ESA (European Space Agency), NPU and Stanford University, etc..
The QB50 mission will demonstrate the possibility of launching a network of 50 Cubesats built by Universities Teams from over 30 countries and regions to perform data collection including composition and distribution of neutral particles and charged ions, drag parameter, atmospheric temperature, and multipoint in-orbit measurement of magnetic field, etc., in the largely unexplored lower thermosphere (90-300 km). Meanwhile, the 50 Cubesats will also facilitate the related researches on reentry of satellites into atmosphere.
QB50 is an international cooperative project of microsatellites which currently involves the largest number of participants around the world as well as the largest number of satellites launched for one time in the on-going projects.
NPU, as the only sponsor and chief coordinator in Asia, together with VKI and Stanford, becomes the control centers for flight mission. Therefore, ¡°NPU satellite control ground station¡± will undertake the control and message receiving mission of all the 50 CubeSats. And NPU is the only one of seven nationwide universities, which participats in the project, as well as the only one with satellite control ground station in Shaanxi higher institutions.
As an open control system for miniaturized satellites, NPU satellite control ground station does not only support the 50 CubeSats for QB50 Project, but also undertakes the control mission for NPU Ao¡¯xiang-series satellites.
(Chinese: Zhao Zhen, English: Wang Juan, source: NPU)