The mission of the SKC CubeSat is threefold. The primary focus of the mission is to provide SKC engineering and sciences students with design, test, and space flight operations experience. The SKC CubeSat will also expose Flathead Indian Reservation students to NASA-focused STEM college majors and careers. The secondary mission objective will be to demonstrate the feasibility of targeted imagery acquisition by a CubeSat.

5.1. Mission Requirements

5.1.1. Design, Test, and Space Flight Operations Experience

This project will strongly contribute to the graduation of over 20 tribal college students with baccalaureate engineering and science majors and NASA flight experience gained in this project. It is expected that a significant number of these students will also compete successfully for an internship or cooperative education experience at a NASA Center or JPL as a direct result of the experience and maturity gained in this program. It is also expected that some of these graduates will go on to careers as a NASA civil servant, NASA contractor, or university based NASA-sponsored research. The SKC CubeSat will provide SKC and other tribal college engineering and science students with design, test, and space flight operations experience that will prepare them for NASA-focused careers. The students will gain this experience working as interns paid by the SKC NASA Tribal Colleges and Universities Project Cooperative Agreement NNX10AT95A.

5.1.2. Expose Pre-College Students to NASA-focused careers

The involvement of SKC in NASA flight missions has been well publicized locally and nationally (Devlin, V. 2010; Sakimoto, P. and D. Rosendahl 2005). The PI has several times presented this work by SKC to Flathead Reservation K-12 students and teachers and other community members. Many in the reservation community are proud that their college is involved in helping advance the work of NASA. A CubeSat flight led by SKC is expected to further engage the Flathead Reservation community and other Native Americans elsewhere with NASA. The SKC CubeSat will expose Flathead Indian Reservation middle school and high school students to NASA-focused STEM college majors and careers by SKC student and faculty CubeSat team members making presentations at the schools and working with teachers to develop ways for these students to actively participate in the mission.

5.1.3. Targeted Imagery Acquisition by a CubeSat

The secondary objective is to demonstrate the acquisition of targeted 100-meter or better resolution visible light imagery of the Earth from a CubeSat platform. This objective will enhance the objective of engaging the Flathead Reservation community by taking an image of the reservation. The SKC CubeSat will demonstrate the feasibility of targeted imagery acquisition by a CubeSat.