Project Imua team conducts mission simulation before NASA launch


University of Hawaiʻi
Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, (808) 228-8108
Director of Communications and Outreach, University of Hawaiʻi System
Posted: Nov 30, -0001

Project Imua team members ready their payload for a mission simulation.
Project Imua team members ready their payload for a mission simulation.

Link to video and sound (details below):

Who:  Project Imua team of students and faculty from four UH Community Colleges (Honolulu CC, Kapi‘olani CC, Kaua‘i CC and Windward CC)

What:  The team successfully conducted final mission simulation tests of their payload and scientific experiments.  This was a requirement for the launch of their payload scheduled for NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on August 16, 2016.

When:  Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Where:  Windward Community College


Project Imua (to move forward in Hawaiian) is a joint faculty-student enterprise of four University of Hawai‘i Community College campuses. Its primary mission is to develop small payloads for space flight while providing undergraduates with project-based learning opportunities in STEM fields.  This multi-campus project is funded by a two-year $500,000 grant awarded to the Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium under the NASA Space Grant Competitive Opportunity for Partnerships with Community Colleges and Technical Schools, which includes $200,000 in student internships.

Operating under the RockSat-X program, the first Project Imua Payload (PIP) was successfully launched on August 12, 2015 by a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket from Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in Virginia. Its 15-minute sub-orbital flight attained an apogee of 96 miles. That first payload consisted of an ultraviolet spectrometer for measuring solar irradiance, an array of photosensors for determining the payload’s orientation to the sun and a 9-axis motion detector.

(Here is the August 12, 2015 UH News Story about the launch:

Project Imua is currently integrating and conducting final tests on its second payload named PrIME (Project Imua Multiple Experiment).  Included in PrIME:

  • A neutron-gamma ray detector designed and fabricated by Kaua‘i CC, a prototype, which is being tested for a possible future orbital flight.
  • An innovatively powered rocket designed by Windward CC and fabricated using a 3-D printer.ScubeR (Super Simple Sublimation Rocket) will be deployed at the peak of the NASA sounding rocket’s flight.
  • Honolulu CC has configured two on-board Mobius Action cameras to record video and pictures of the flight and has selected a motion tracker to record g-forces.
  • The Kapi‘olani CC team developed the payload’s interface boards for power and conditioning and data processing and transfer, as well as the housing for these circuits.

A team of three mentors and eight students will return to Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to conduct finals test for integration and launch on a NASA sounding rocket.  This sub-orbital flight, which will carry the payload to an altitude of approximately 100 miles during its 15-minute mission, is scheduled for launch on August 16,  2016.


1 shot: WIndward CC exterior. Hale Imiloa

4 shots: preparing for launch sequence

6 shots: launch sequence begins

1 shot: ScubeR is ejected

1 shot: ScubeR sitting on desk

2 shots: August 2015 launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility


Kaina Allard-Mahoney, Kaua‘i Community College student (:15)

“The neutron detector that Kaua‘i CC helped build is the first of its kind.  It’s going into space, It was developed by real students at a community college and it’s going on a NASA rocket.  Great project.  Great experience.”

Cale Mechler, Windward Community College student (Cale is also a second-year Project Imua participant) (:10)

“This has been an awesome experience.  Being able to do the same things that any company that’s want to fire a rocket with NASA goes through.  We went through all the same stages.”

Joe Ciotti, Project Imua Manager, (on an innovative new rocket the team plans to launch when the payload is in space) (:12)

“Well the propellant we are using is what people normally use for mothballs.  Itʻs naphtalene and that will turn from a solid to a gas and propell the rocket, and this is the first time that this is being done in space. So, it is kinda exciting!”