The Development of the Satellite UVI-BurstCube

December 22, 2017 - The University of the Virgin Islands will soon have its own satellite. Its physics program is developing the UVI-BurstCube satellite. This project is supported by the UVI NASA-EPSCoR collaboration. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NASA-EPSCoR) is the program that first funded the revitalization of the Etelman Observatory under Dr. David Morris’ directorship some six years ago and which allowed the physics group to hire its first full-time astronomer at UVI, Dr. Bruce Gendre.

Dr. Antonino Cucchiara, assistant professor of physics, and Dr. David Morris, assistant professor of physics and director of the Etelman Observatory, developed this new NASA-EPSCoR project soon after Cucchiara arrived in the 2016-17 academic year. UVI-BurstCube is what is known as a CubeSat (Cube Satellite). CubeSats are a mini-satellite protocol developed in the early 2000s to standardize the building and technical aspects of small satellites. The UVI-BurstCube is designed to be a compact and cost-effective platform for detecting gamma-ray bursts similar to the one that led, earlier this fall, to the detection of simultaneous gravitational and electromagnetic waves from the same source for the first time, a discovery that astronomers at UVI were involved in.

“We are incredibly excited about the educational opportunities this program will provide for our students, the research opportunities it will provide for our faculty, and the industrial opportunities it will offer for scientists and researchers working at UVI to pursue commercial sector aerospace contracts,” said Morris.

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For more information, contact Dr. David Morris at