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NO.76 06.04.2013

WCU Project Series ③ Space Exploration By CubeSat


Kyung Hee University’s Space Exploration Project Team will soon launch a state-of-the-art satellite to measure the distribution of neutral particles and changes in the magnetic field.

The third installment of a series detailing Kyung Hee’s WCU projects, which conclude in   August, looks into the “Space Exploration by Cube Sat” project led by Professor Dong-Hun Lee.


Developing a Lunar Exploration Satellite
In 2008, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology selected Kyung Hee’s “Space Exploration” Project in the space and defense sector of the World Class University (WCU) project. This led to the establishment of the School of Space Research for graduate level studies at Kyung Hee, which has worked to develop the nation’s first miniaturized satellite for space exploration.


The CINEMA 1, co-developed with the University of California at Berkeley, was successfully launched on September 14, 2012 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the United States to explore the areas of space closest to Earth. The project team confirmed that the satellite had entered into orbit and communicated with a station on Earth from an altitude of 800 kilometers. CINEMA is an acronym for CubeSat for Ions, Neutrals, Electrons, & Magnetic Fields.


Following its winning bid for the WCU project, Kyung Hee began this joint effort with UC Berkeley upon suggestion by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Subsequent satellites -CINEMA 2 (KHUSAT-1) and CINEMA 3 (KHUSAT-2)- were developed and tested solely by Kyung Hee last year and are now ready for launch in Russia.


For the university, the development of the CINEMA project marks a step towards lunar orbit exploration. “We will continue our research for three-to-four years after the launch of CINEMA 2 and CINEMA 3 to develop a satellite that goes directly to the moon,” Professor Lee said. Satellites have yet to capture the magnetic field around the lunar surface. If the research is successful, it will become possible to identify the cause of the magnetic field on the lunar surface and collect information on the origin of the moon.


Development of New Satellite with Position Control Capability

CINEMA detects particles such as ions, electrons, and neutrons released by the Sun and measures magnetic field variations. The world’s best particle detector, STEIN, was embedded in CINEMA (weight: 3.1 kg, dimensions: 10 cm by 10 cm by 30 cm). “The functions of a large-scale satellite are compressed in one chip embedded in CINEMA,” Professor Ho Jin explained. “It is the most advanced satellite capable of detecting particles and magnetic fields and also controlling its own position.” Upon the launch of CINEMA 2 and CINEMA 3, the three satellites will be able to make precise, omnidirectional observations simultaneously in all time zones.


Through cooperation with world-renowned research organizations, Kyung Hee students were able to glean international scholars’ insights while also gaining valuable work experience. Their learning included planetary astronomy, physics, computer science, mechanical engineering, and electron and electric wave engineering. Professor Jong-Ho Seon said, “Our students can become leaders in space exploration by utilizing the technologies they learned through the WCU project.” With its increase in technical capacity and human resources, the School of Space Research is likely to play a leading role in Korea’s emergence as a world power in space exploration. 


The WCU projects aim to boost research in core areas for national development and to cultivate talented individuals.


Translated by Ji Eun Song · Edited by Youngjin Kim, Karen Choi


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WCU Project Series ④ Space Exploration By CubeSat

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