Student payloads to fly on RocketStar suborbital test flight

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LOGAN, Utah — Two experimental payloads built by university students have been integrated with a RocketStar suborbital test flight set for next month.

Students at Brigham Young University and the University of Central Florida provided the experimental payloads, which TriSept Corp. integrated with New York-based RocketStar’s 10-meter-tall, aerospike-powered Cowbell rocket.

The UCF payload is designed to simulate asteroid particle activity during the suborbital flight. Students, who have flown a similar payload on the International Space Station, are investigating particle collisions inside a device they developed.

BYU College of Engineering students provided a sensor suite to measure motion, acceleration and vibration aboard the launch vehicle.

“We are excited to work with TriSept and RocketStar to put our flight motion payload to the test and to work with flight-grade security software on its maiden voyage in space,” David Long, BYU Center for Remote Sensing engineering professor, said in a statement.

Data from the student payloads will help RocketStar characterize the flight environment for future payload customers, RocketStar CEO Chris Craddock told SpaceNews.

In its quest to develop a single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle, RocketStar has conducted nine suborbital launches, flying Cowbell as high as 15 kilometers.

In March 2023, RocketStar plans to return to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida for a flight test of a larger rocket with a payload capacity that “may be upwards of 150 kilograms,” Craddock said.

The September suborbital launch is the first suborbital test for TriSept’s new satellite security operating system. The operating system, called TriSept Security Enhanced Layer, will plug vulnerabilities and protect the overall satellite operation, said Jason Armstrong, TriSept launch and integration services director.