X2Sat and NMSU collaborate to create a device that measures ocean temperatures in real time


New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering and Department of Biology are collaborating with X2nSat in order to create a device to measure Pacific Ocean temperatures in real time during the 2020 Pacific Cup race.

The Pacific Cup is a race that started in 1980 and now takes place every other year where sailors start from San Francisco and sail the open ocean to Hawaii’s Kaneohe island. The race is usually considered something sailors do for fun, but this year NMSU and X2nSat wanted to put the boats to work.

The students at NMSU, as part of the Aggie Engineering Capstone Design Program, are working to design a device capable of measuring ocean temperatures at various depths that can also store and transmit data in real time via X2nSat’s satellite communications technology.

“The project will promote partnership between NMSU students and industry. In addition, the project will demonstrate the capabilities of satellite communications over a specific region of the Pacific Ocean,” said Gabe Garcia, mechanical engineering associate professor and assistant dean of student success for experiential learning.

The NMSU team working on the sensor include mechanical engineering seniors Caleb Gustin, Joseph Moseley, Dominic Blea and Makena Sutherland, industrial engineering senior Ahmad Atiah and electrical engineering senior Rodion Shishkov. They are also being advised on the environmental impact of their project by Michelle Nishiguchi, Regents Professor and Biology department head at NSMU.

“This project is a great opportunity to put our engineering skills to work,” said Gustin, project manager. “We have all worked extremely hard to get to this point. It is rewarding to work with clients, and help their vision come to life. As a team, we are excited to get to work on delivering a good product and collect useful data.”

Undertaking this task from the X2nSat side is CEO Garrett Hill, and the crew of the boat Big Medicine, Pete Whyte, Bryan Hill, Dominic Haugh, and Ian Chadwick. Along with X2nSat’s technical support (GNSC) crew and the engineering team.

“We are always looking to test the capabilities of our communications,” says Garrett Hill, CEO of X2nSat. “We believe that showing satellite’s ability to maintain live readings while in the middle of the Pacific ocean, thousands of miles from land, will be something incredible.”

X2nSat is hoping to work with the students of NMSU to provide real-time accurate data for the entire 2,000 mile race. As well as be able to run live video updates, stream movies and videos, and really show what satellite is capable of.

This is something that has never been done before. Despite the likely importance of these readings, the funding and infrastructure needed in order to perform something of this magnitude had been out of reach. Now, though, with the help of X2nSat and satellite, the students of NMSU can measure ocean temperatures from San Francisco to Hawaii and build a case for environmental impact.

The Pacific Cup race wll kick off the week of June 29, 2020 from San Francisco and will last anywhere from a quick 6, to a leisurely 17 days depending on how long it takes each boat to arrive.

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