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Cal Poly DAVE CubeSat to launch Saturday

Posted at 5:13 PM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-13 20:13:21-04

This is DAVE or the Damping and Vibrations Experiment that’s about to make its big debut in outer space. Students and staff at cal poly have been working on this special cube satellite for over 10 years. 

"It hasn’t been tested in space before and the problem is, if it hasn’t been tested in space, nobody wants to include it on a large spacecraft because it’s high risk. So what we’re going to do with DAVE is we’re going to test the dampening technology on a low risk spacecraft, in a one use cubesat. The data we get back from the test will hopefully be able to justify further exploration of this dampening technology for adoption on a spacecraft," explained Cal Poly professor, Dr. John Bellardo. 

DAVE will be attached to the final launch of the Delta II rocket, flying out of Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday. 

Once in space, the team at Cal Poly will be able to learn more about particle dampers, which could potentially reduce equipment bouncing around while in orbit. 

"So it’s similar to the brakes on your car – they damper your car, they slow you down. In space you have the same thing. There’s energy – it’s not driving down the road, but there’s still energy. There’s certain types of energy and there’s certain times you need to take them out; the dampener does just that," Ballardo said. 

Students who have worked on this project say they’re excited to finally see the DAVE CubeSat sent to outer space. 

"I spent almost an entire summer of just nonstop work two years ago on this and finally seeing it go will just be really amazing," Cal Poly student, Christopher Gerdom said.