We Are Brown

Space Engineering

Our Goals

  • Make space accessible to people of all backgrounds
    • Prove that anyone can be involved in space
    • Minimize costs to enable a wider audience to be able to build a satellite
  • Create a baseline design for future projects
    • Keep both design and production simple
    • Open Source all of our designs and procedures
  • Inspire future generations to explore space!

DIY (Do it Yourself) Philosophy

  • Encourage collaborative education among an all-undergraduate team
  • Utilize processes commonly accessible to the informed public
  • Minimize cost by minimizing pre-built component use
  • Student built from scratch
  • Design to avoid tolerance stack up and maintain simplicity
  • Have fun and learn a lot!

History Of The Team

EQUiSat started in the Spring of 2011 during a class taught by Professor Rick Fleeter at Brown called: Design of Space Systems. In the class, students are split into teams who each design their own theoretical space mission. Our founders, Max, Alex, Kelsey, and Alex, came up with an idea for a low cost, DIY cubesat that would flash down from space and be visible to all. Their mission was to prove the accessibility of space to everyone and promote space education. At the end of the semester, they realized, “Hey! We could actually do this!” – and our team was founded.

In the beginning, our team was made up of just a few members, eager and excited to realize their far-fetched dreams. However we quickly realized that we needed to learn a lot in order to build this satellite. During the first few years, our team began to accumulate a database of knowledge about how to actually build a satellite. We progressed through many design iterations, and our dreams began to converge with reality. As our team grew, we were able to start our outreach programs and work towards our goal of inspiring a new generation of space enthusiasts.

In February of 2014, EQUiSat was selected for launch by NASA through the CubeSat Launch Initiative (CLI). This means EQUiSat will be launched as a secondary payload for free. For the next four years three years, we developed our team and our satellite as we prepared for our future. EQUiSat was deployed out of the International Space Station on July 13th, 2018, and it is now operating successfully in Low Earth orbit.

In Spring of 2016, we decided that we wanted to ensure our team will have a future after EQUiSat.  To lay the groundwork for this, we changed our name from Brown CubeSat Team to Brown Space Engineering, or BSE for short. This change is reflective of our expansion towards future missions and other aspects of space exploration.

BSE Today

On December 26, 2020, our first satellite, EQUISat, deorbited. In the fall of 2020, the team finished gathering and analyzing data from EQUiSat’s operation. So far, the LiFePO4 batteries’ performance is promising, and submitted a mission report to NASA recording our findings.

The team is now hard at work designing and prototyping our next CubeSat, PVDX!

Our outreach team is very busy, teaching lessons and giving presentations about our satellite, space, and engineering in general. In the past we have hosted a teaching program, right here in Providence, RI. During this program, our team teaches students about space and engineering. Additionally, they provide the students with awesome science experiments that teach kids the intuition behind the physical principles of space travel. Remember Newton’s third law? It’s the fundamental equation that allows rockets to fly! Our students have made bottle rockets and balloon cars that work on the same principles! We hope to continue teaching and expand our lessons to more students. Let us know if you would like us to come to your school and present!

Our R&D team successfully launched their first high-altitude weather balloon. We built its payload and balloon, launched, and recovered it in one semester!

This website is meant to detail our design motivations and process. Unless otherwise stated, everything you find here is a work in progress and not yet finalized. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please direct them here.