Overview

During the beginning of every Air Force Nanosat competition, the Air Force Research Laboratory holds a satellite fabrication class at Kirtland Air Force Base in which students from all participating universities are brought for a two day hands-on training session. At these sessions, students are given tours of the Air Force's fabrication facilities and are provided opportunities to learn the Air Force assembly and testing procedures with an emphasis on hands-on experience for the students.

Nanosat-5 Satellite Fabrication Class

During Fall of 2007, AggieSat Lab participated in its first fabrication class at Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico between November 8th and 9th. Four students were chosen to attend the fabrication class and represent AggieSat Lab.

Upon arriving late Wednesday night by plane, these students situated themselves into their living arrangements. Up at 6:00a.m. and with a brief ride over to the base, the AggieSat team members were introduced to students from three other universities who were also attending the class during that week. There was a morning session in which various presentations were given by engineers at the facility over proper safety procedures, ESD protection, and soldering techniques. After lunch, students were divided into two groups with one group attending a soldering workshop and the other touring the facilities (including a look at vacuum chambers and a question and answer session over UT's FASTRAC satellite). Afterwards, both groups were able to switch and participate in the other activity.

On day two, the morning session consisted of additional presentations over proper wiring techniques and all elements used in the wiring process. After lunch, students were divided into two groups. One group attended a wiring workshop while the other was given a demonstration of a vibration table and a tour of a clean room which contained TacSat 3, a military reconnaissance satellite developed between Swales Aerospace and AFRL. Again, both groups were able to switch and participate in the other activity. Upon completion of the class, AggieSat students flew back to College Station and arrived home late that evening.