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The CubeSat Laboratory at Vermont Technical College (VTC) is a collection of students, faculty, and staff building CubeSat technology spacecraft. While CubeSats are being constructed by many groups around the world, both inside and outside of academia, what makes our work different is that we use the SPARK/Ada programming language for our software needs. As compared to the more commonly used C language, Ada makes it much easier to write correct, robust software. SPARK adds the ability to create mathematical proofs (with the aid of tools) showing freedom from certain classes of runtime errors and other correctness properties. Our BasicLEO CubeSat, launched in November 2013 is the first CubeSat programmed with Ada and the first spacecraft of any kind programmed with SPARK.
The Space Systems Laboratory at the University of Vermont is a group of students, faculty and industrial collaborators focused on the development of miniaturized propulsion systems and attitude control systems for small satellites. Each academic year the Space Systems Laboratory, in partnership with the Vermont space Grant Consortium and Benchmark Space Systems Inc., sponsors a design challenge for undergraduates involving propulsion and control subsystems. Recent design tasks have included solar sails for small satellite de-orbiting; cold gas propulsion system for a 3U cubesat; and design of an air bearing system for cubesat propulsion testing