International Students of Beihang University in Beijing, China, have completed the proposal of the Satellite Project (SP-Beihang) for the countries along the belt and road. Prof. Marco A. Cabero, former SGAC Regional Coordinator, gives his impressions on the recent project organised by the International School, the International Scientific Society, and the School of Astronautics of Beihang University.

Team members of the Satellite Project with the Dean of the International School Prof. Weng Jing Nong.

On Wednesday 28th February 2018, after working for more than four months, the proposal for the Satellite Project Contest was submitted. Twenty students from more than 10 countries joined the team with the aim of working in a collaborative environment to design a satellite project to cover the belt and road countries. The Belt and Road is a strategic concept proposed by China that integrates different countries around the world. It is a new concept of cooperation in view of the rapid globalisation.This is the first time that Beihang International Students participate in this kind of competition regarding Space Technology.

A New Concept of Cooperation

The team of the Satellite Project Beihang (SP-Beihang) was established with the aim to provide world-class education and research in the field of CubeSat design with the help of academia-industry interaction. The team was divided into different sections which were responsible for preparing individual subsystems. Selected students were assigned different tasks according to their areas of interest and available time. The methodology of teamwork was based on problem-based learning throughout the whole design process that started in October 2017 and concluded in February 2018. Students reported the acquisition of interpersonal skills, time management, critical thinking, teamwork, communication skills among others.

The members of the team selected by the International School who joined the laboratory of Prof Wang Xinsheng in the School of Astronautics to design an innovative mission for the Belt and Road countries.

EcoBeltSat-1 Project Phases

EcoBeltSat-1 Project on its first phase will consist of two payloads. The team proposed to develop a sustainable strategy to measure the air pollution. A cost-effective remote sensing mission based on a CubeSat can optimally achieve this need from space. EcoBeltSat-1 is planned to offer access to space for scientists to determine the effect of cross-border air pollution flux and acquire a more precise understanding of climate change and global warming. The team will accomplish this mission by the use of an onboard atmospheric spectrometer as the first payload.  The second payload will be based on GNSS-R (reflectometry) that aims to demonstrate the capabilities of GNSS remote sensing to derive geophysical parameters of the ocean/land surfaces and wind speed. Using these payloads, the team plans to provide data for future projects in wind and solar energy. For the second phase, the plan is to build a CubeSat-constellation with different missions along the belt and road countries. The team proposed to integrate nations through the technology transfer using a novel educational model applied to space technology for data sharing, analysis, and satellite design.

Personal Development through Problem-based Learning

Something that needs to be pointed out is the way how the project was organised. First, it must be mentioned that the Problem-Based Learning method was applied. Why? Well, basically because students develop different skills working on real-life problems. The skills reported by the students during the assessment and introspection of the project were communication, teamwork, problem-solving techniques, leadership, creativity, critical thinking, presentation and oratory. As can be seen, the benefits were multiple.

We hope that more opportunities like this can be created for foreign students. We had the chance to learn more from each other, to prove our ideas and to show that we can contribute positively to Science and Technology in Beihang. Working during the winter vacation was challenging but I did not feel it was extenuating because I wanted to do it.

Vahid Rastinasab (Satellite Project Student’s Technical team leader)

We aim to share the outputs of these works with the scientific community continuously. The most important thing is not the destination of this project. The journey of the project is more important than the targets. I am very happy to be a pioneer on China’s joint efforts on small satellites, especially in cooperation with the countries along the Belt and Road.

Fatih Avci (Satellite Project Student’s team leader)

Dear team, once again we have proved that a student’s endeavor success is a joint effort. This is our legacy to show how we can work together in harmony and peace to achieve a common goal. Thank you all for your efforts. The results can be seen now.

Prof. Marco A. Cabero (Supervisor Satellite Project)

We hope that our foreign students can achieve more success in the space field. Congratulations on your great efforts.

Prof. Wang Xin Sheng (Supervisor Satellite Project)

Congratulations for your achievements, keep your work at best.

Prof. Weng Jing Nong (Dean International School)


Prof. Marco A. Cabero
Former SGAC Regional Coordinator
Supervisor of the Satellite Project, International School – Beihang University, Beijing – China