Recent satellite launch includes perovskite solar cells for performance testing

On March 21, a rocket nicknamed “Cargo Dragon” was launched from Florida, marking the beginning of NASA’s 30th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. The 30 tons of cargo aboard included a special payload — the first CubeSat satellite built by a University of Nebraska–Lincoln team and launched into space.

As part of its CubeSat program, NASA in 2021 chose the Nebraska team to include its satellite experiment included as auxiliary payload aboard a future mission to the space station. A few months ago, NASA informed the Nebraska team that their CubeSat would be aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for an early March launch. Big Red Sat-1 was one of four projects from U.S. universities selected for the program.


A couple of launch delays prevented a team of about 40 current and former members and family from witnessing the rocket blast off during a spring break trip to the Florida Space Coast. On March 21 in a Nebraska Hall lab, a small group of payload team members gathered to watch the livestream of the launch. However, the team’s work does not end with the launch but continues with the possibility of performing pioneering research in the next few months.

The satellite — a cube measuring four inches per side (roughly the size of a small tissue box) and with the volume of less than a quart — will test the performance in outer space of perovskite solar cells from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NASA has said the Nebraska CubeSat will be deployed within 90 days of it arriving at the space station.

Posted: Mar 30,2024 by Roni Peleg