Designing a 1U Amateur Radio CubeSat; The Ethics of Job Automation: A Social and Political Analysis of the Problems Associated with Technological Development, and Potential Policy Remedies for Worker Dislocation

Todaro, Isabella, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Gorman, Michael, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Goyne, Chris, EN-Mech/Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia

My Technical Report, “ Designing a 1U Amateur Radio CubeSat,” which I completed
with my project team in my Spacecraft Design capstone course, details our preliminary design
for a 1U CubeSat called CECIL: Communication-Enabling CubeSat In LEO (Low-Earth Orbit).
CECIL is a 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm cube-shaped satellite that once in orbit will communicate
with both the UVA ground station and with amateur radio ground stations around the world,
functioning within the bounds of an amateur radio license for ease of data sharing and
collaboration. Our design for the satellite is low-cost and has a low risk of failure. The
mission’s payload boasts an experimental amateur transceiver, which will allow amateur radio
enthusiasts to request information from the satellite, and a camera, which will take photographs
of the Earth. We will seek funding for the CubeSat through the Virginia Space Grant
Consortium. The mission, if successful, will be considered a “technology demonstration” that
will help confirm the legitimacy of space mission engineering here at UVA.
James Wertz’s Space Mission Engineering Process, as detailed in the text Space Mission
Engineering: The New SMAD , has guided our analysis and design for the project thus far. This
past academic year saw the successful completion of both the Conceptual Design phase and the
Preliminary Design phase. Next academic year, the students of Spacecraft Design I and II will
continue our work and complete the Critical Design phase, which is the final design phase.
Software programming, construction of the CubeSat, and testing of its components will follow.
The expected launch date for the CubeSat is set in April of 2022; We hope to launch through
NASA’s (National Air and Space Administration) CubeSat Launch Initiative via the Antares or
Falcon 9, and plan to deploy the spacecraft from the ISS (International Space Station) into the
same orbit as the space station. Natural deorbit is expected to occur after a little over a year in

My STS Research Paper, “ The Ethics of Job Automation: A Social and Political Analysis
of the Problems Associated with Technological Development, and Potential Policy Remedies for
Worker Dislocation,” first briefly presents historical, technical, and economic research on
labor-saving technology and job automation, then conducts ethical analyses of the effects of job
automation on people, and the potential ways to mitigate, through policy initiatives, automation’s
unsavory effects on American workers and on society as a whole. The STS concept of
anticipatory governance and the ethical approaches of Utilitarianism, the Rights approach, the
Fairness or Justice approach, and the Common Good approach form the basis of the ethical and
political analyses. The ethical frameworks, informed by the requisite background information,
will produce sound socio-technical solutions to worker dislocation as a result of job automation.

Although my technical work and STS research do not share a topical relationship,
working on both projects at once has proved a valuable part of my undergraduate engineering
education. It is important for engineering students to learn how to design and build with
perspective on all of the possible impacts of our innovations, and engagement with stakeholders
and with society as a whole. Any invention or solution should not only innovate technically, but
also socially and ethically.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
job automation, ethics, spacecraft, satellite, CubeSat, worker dislocation

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Christopher Goyne

STS Advisor: Michael Gorman

Technical Team Members: Sean Bergmann, Henry Blalock, David Broome, Joshua Choe, Nathanial Craft, Eva Femia, Ari
Goldman, Martin Keuchkerian, Joseff Medina, Gabe Norris, Andrew Oxford, Jack Shea, Zach
Wilson, Monica Wuhrer

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