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Dewey, Griffin, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Goyne, Chris, EN-Mech & Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Wayland, Kent, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” In 1969, Neil Armstrong uttered
these infamous words as the moon landing was confirmed and the world forever changed. The
Space Race during the Cold War was a monumental time when the two most powerful countries,
the United States of America and the Soviet Union, battled for the title of the most
technologically advanced nation on earth. Space has always been a powerful symbol, as the
country with control of this asset has typically been viewed as the Great Power of the time. This
is why anti-satellite weaponry has been deemed a crucial resource by many powerful countries,
as it gives a nation the ability to not only destroy satellites but also destroy the idea of a Great
Power’s greatest asset on a more sociopolitical level. As space is now used for countless
commercial purposes, improving countless lives every day through accurate weather services and
satellite connection, many questions arise about how space should be used to protect the current
assets in orbit, as countries continue to jostle for both technical and military superiority.
Since the first satellite reached space in 1957, those responsible for these missions have
been careless about leaving rocket and satellite remnants in space, as even the first satellite,
Sputnik 1, was left in orbit after its battery died and ceased transmitting. Although leaving a
satellite in space without a plan to remove it is inherently problematic, it’s the small pieces of
junk that are the real concern, as they are just as lethal and harder to avoid.
In 1968, the Soviet Union performed the first anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test,
intentionally blowing up a satellite and creating a large cloud of debris. Since then, China, India,
and the United States have followed suit, each government blowing up its own satellites in a
show of force, creating much more debris. When a debris hits a satellite, it can cause the satellite
to explode, sending more debris going in all directions. In fact, this has already happened
multiple times, but most notably in 2009 when an old Soviet satellite collided with an operational
communication satellite, blowing it up. These shards become more debris, which then threaten
other satellites in orbit.
The growing international concern for the safety of space has been evident in recent
decades, leading to a shifting attitude toward ASAT testing. Comprehending the impact of this
changing attitude on the prevalence of ASAT tests is the first step in fully understanding the
approach that can be taken to protect space.
ASAT testing is not the only way that space has been used by militaries; space is the
latest battleground. In fact, for my team’s project as the UVA Class of 2024 Spacecraft Design
Capstone, we are studying the effects of hypersonic reentry into the atmosphere using a small
satellite called a CubeSat. Hypersonic research is one of the highest priorities of the defense
industry right now, as international tensions climb and the United States seeks to catch up to
Russia and China in this field, and it can be applied to create missiles traveling up to ten-times
the speed of sound, or Mach 10. These missiles travel through the atmosphere rather than in
space, allowing for real-time navigation and control of the missile and less time for defensive
measures to be taken by the target. Understanding the behavior of materials travelling hypersonic
speeds is crucial for national security, as we are incredibly vulnerable to foreign attacks without
this technology. Our CubeSat, known as HEDGE, will be launched into low Earth orbit (LEO),
and will reenter the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds, transmitting crucial data back to us before
it burns up.
HEDGE is a three-year project, and our class is working on it for the second year. It has
been a great experience to take an idea from the class before ours and build upon it in such a way
that allows us to bring it to the final stages for next year’s class to complete. I am very excited to
see our design in action in the coming years, as this has been a truly rewarding experience. It has
been very useful to learn about the industry and government procedures that are used in big
projects such as these, and I look forward to bringing this knowledge with me into my career
after I graduate. I also feel that my STS research paper has given me a deeper understanding into
the overarching relationships and tensions at play in these areas, and I am grateful to have been
given the experience to research these in depth, as it will allow me to perform my duties more
responsibly going forward into the workforce.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
CubSat, ASAT Testing, International Relations

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Technical Advisor: Chris Goyne

STS Advisor: Kent Wayland

Technical Team Members: Notes: There is specific information required for this section.

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School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in [Insert Major] [Include only first major on transcripts]

Technical Advisor: Firstname Lastname

STS Advisor: Firstname Lastname

Technical Team Members:
Temidayo Akinbi
Samuel Falls
Timothee Kambouris
Owen Solomon
Katie Borland
Jennifer Farfel
Emmanuel Kenscoff
Tyler Spittle
Justin Carroll
Isaac Farias
Benjamin Koeppen
Owen Tuohy
Arlee Christian
Brandol Galicia
Ian McAninley
Kate Wilkins
Juan Victor Corsino
Rishab Gopisetti
Morgan Myers
Najarie Williams
Troy Daigneau
Lucas Haddock
Amy Paz Cuervo
Lobsang Dawa
Sean Jolly
William Plunkett
William Jones
Brett Schriever

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