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ASU student builds camera for satellite

TEMPE — An ASU student is working on something that’s headed out of this world.

Third-year graduate student Michael Veto is working on an infrared camera that will be put to work in space. He was chosen to build the camera for the Prox-1 satellite that’s expected to be launched in a couple of years.

“Our nano-satellite will eject a smaller satellite called a cube-sat,” Veto said. “We are kind of like the mother ship. The smaller satellite is going to come out, and there we’re going to use the infrared camera to detect it. This will all be going on while the satellites are in earth orbit.”

The second satellite is called the Lightsail Solar Sail Spacecraft. Veto has already built a prototype of the camera that is about the size of a shoe box. The prototype will track the Solar Sail through the heat it generates as it orbits the earth.

“The camera will easily be able to see it,” said Veto. That’s because of all of the heat the satellite will be emitting. “it will be kind of like a light bulb floating around, and our camera’s going to be able to detect it.”

The Prox-1 mission was designed by students at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and is supported by the Air Force and Raytheon Vision Systems, among others.

Veto says the Air Force wants to have the entire satellite built within the next 18 months. That means he has a deadline to meet.

“I have roughly about eight to 10 months to get a final product to the rest of the team that’s going to start bolting it on, hooking up the connections, working with the software and stuff,” Veto said.