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Satellite, Launched Into Space Earlier This Month, to Measure Urban Heat Island Effect

A new satellite, currently residing on the International Space Station and scheduled for deployment in January, will measure and map the urban heat island effect of seven U.S. cities.
November 25, 2019, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Michael Ruiz

Arizona State University students built a satellite named CubeSat that launched this month into space on an Antares rocket.

Ian James reports on the recent launch of the satellite, known as CubeSat, which measures only 12 inches long by 4 inches wide and weighed 8.6 pounds. Cubesat was engineered to capture block-by-block, infrared images of Phoenix and six other U.S. cities. The resulting data on heat trends "could help urban planners design cooler cityscapes to withstand the effects as the world continues to heat up due to the burning of fossil fuels," according to the article.

"Four years ago, the students wrote a proposal to build the satellite and obtained $200,000 in NASA funding," explains James of how the project came to be. "A total of about 80 undergraduate students took part in the project. Many of them spent long hours designing the spacecraft, piecing together the components, testing its systems, and writing code to make it all work."

"In addition to focusing on Phoenix, the plan is for the satellite to gather thermal images of Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Baltimore and Minneapolis," adds James, who also provides details of how the new data will be used to create new forms of climate mapping for the cities under study.

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Published on Friday, November 8, 2019 in Arizona Republic
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