WHO WE ARE
Our team currently designs a 3U CubeSat to probe the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on human-like cells in-orbit. We are part of the Fly Your Satellite! programme, a dedicated programme of the European Space Agency enabling, mainly through training and financial support, selected student teams to design and fly their own satellite.
We already have employed over 100 students, due to the innate multi-disciplinary nature of our project, as well as yielded substantial supplementary educational work by percolating knowledge however possible. In the years to come, we will continue striving for knowledge dissipation, aspiring to inaugurate a policy of founding inter-institutional relationships and improving industry integration, to eventually come to bring further research programmes to life.
The core team responsible for the mission and design of the nanosatellite consists of almost 40 students from different departments of AUTh and other academic institutions, who in return gain valuable experience in designing a space mission.
The nanosatellite currently designed by SpaceDot will contain an in-house built pressurized vessel hosting a custom-made miniaturized imaging system and a lab-on-a-chip. The platform is used to multiplex yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae culturing and analysis, in order to probe the combined effects of cosmic radiation and microgravity conditions in low earth orbit.
Towards that experimental goal, the yeast cells are genetically engineered, as to elicit fluorescence during the expression of a gene of interest. The changes in gene expression are, in turn, measured through capturing fluorescence intensity. For more details on the space mission, visit Science Unit’s subsystem page.
Our experiments will study genes on a scale up to 100-200 times more compared to previous missions, and also provide high-quality visual observations, during an elongated timespan of 6 to 9 months while in-orbit. Our platform is designed bottom-up to be modular, allowing for its reuse in space biology research while requiring minimal funds, know-how and time; potentially rendering the field more approachable to labs and organizations around the globe.
We aim to leverage the results of our research to associate gene expression alterations with the possible effects space conditions can have on humans at a molecular level. Our experiments will also help delineate the properties and mechanisms of cells that constitute one of the most important biotechnological tools often used for purposes such as producing biofuel and drugs, among others. Lastly, we hope that all knowledge amassed will help humans get one step closer to realizing deep space exploration.
AcubeSAT is a project meant to first and foremost pave the way for innovative research. To make space more inclusive and approachable, we design a low-cost, scalable and easily reusable laboratory platform. Furthermore, we strive to share all experiment results, code, schematics and knowledge gained, as well as output heavy educational work, staying true to our ideals.
With this project, our team aims to generate and dissipate knowledge within the academic and corporate community about the prospects and opportunities of aerospace engineering and applications thereof, while simultaneously introducing and engaging the general public to the space capabilities of Greek Academic Institutions. This will help combat the limited expertise observed at a national level.
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The AcubeSAT project is carried out with the support of the Education Office of the European Space Agency, under the educational Fly Your Satellite! programme.
Fly Your Satellite! is an ESA educational programme complementing academic education; it is part of the ESA Academy programme. Students design and build their satellite at their universities and benefit from direct knowledge transfer of ESA technical and managerial expertise, as well as access to facilities.