Military Embedded Systems

Satellite hub at UMass Lowell to get $5.5 million initial infusion


August 16, 2023

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Satellite hub at UMass Lowell to get $5.5 million initial infusion
The SPACE HAUC nanosatellite, built by UMass Lowell students, was successfully deployed into Earth orbit in 2021 from the ISS. Image: Edwin L. Aguirre.

LOWELL, Mass. The University of Massachusetts at Lowell (UMass Lowell) recently received nearly $5.5 million from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to develop a new hub at the university that offers a one-stop support system for researchers and businesses seeking to design, build, and test small satellites and spacecraft components.

Known as the Massachusetts Alliance for Space & Technology & Sciences (MASTS), this consortium of research universities, community colleges, aerospace and defense companies will be based at UMass Lowell's Lowell Center for Space Science and Technology (LoCSST). Over the past several years, LoCSST has launched successful space missions including the student-built SPACE HAUC satellite and the PICTURE-C planet-finding telescope. 

The grant will support the two-year project, which is boosted by matching funds and services from external partners and collaborators, which could bring the total funding for the consortium to more than $10 million.

MASTS is currently composed of 22 organizations, including UMass Boston, Boston University, MIT Haystack Observatory, the University of Arizona, United Arab Emirates University and the University of New Brunswick in Canada, as well as Massachusetts-based Holyoke Community College and Middlesex Community College. Corporate partners include Analog Devices, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems, plus such research-focused nonprofits as MITRE Corp., the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, and Bulgarian consortium CASTRA.

UMass Lowell physics professor Supriya Chakrabarti, director of the LoCSST, calls the MASTS consortium an "exciting development" that's been long in the planning stages, saying that it establishes a place in Massachusetts that will serve as a center of activities for nanosatellites, such as CubeSats.

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